#IPL: Rohit Sharma’s 98 can’t prevent KKR from making a winning start

The Kolkata Knight Riders secured their 10th consecutive IPL win as they started their title defence with a 7 wicket victory over Mumbai Indians, despite a fine 98 from Rohit Sharma.

India v United Arab Emirates - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

A fine 98* rescued Mumbai Indians, but couldn’t prevent KKR from making a winning start to the defence of their IPL title

After winning the toss and asking the Indians to take first hit they started well in the field thanks to a dynamic opening spell from Morne Morkel. The tall South African, who was later named man of the match, sent down his four overs taking 2-18 and knocking the stuffing out of a thin Mumbai top order.

Aaron Finch fell for 5 as he misjudged a pull and Aditya Tare danced down the track to Shakib Al Hasan only to find the hands of Umesh at long-off. When Rayudu fell two balls later, steering Morkel to first slip, Mumbai were reeling at 37 for 3 after 5.2 overs.

“With the new ball there was a little bit of swing,” said Morkel after the game. “The rhythm was good, and I just needed to make the best use of it.

“It’s fantastic to be back here in front of an awesome crowd, and to get that first win out of the way. We expected the wicket to turn a little bit more, but the role the spinners played, in slightly tricky conditions, sums up the team.”

It took something special from skipper Rohit Sharma to see them to a score that was remotely challenging.

Rohit and Corey Anderson put on 131 runs in 88 balls to take their team to 168 for 3 after KKR put down chances and the batsmen exploded after a period of consolidation.

Rohit ended unbeaten on 98 from 65 balls, including 12 fours and 4 sixes, on the Eden Gardens ground he has made his own.

He had smashed 177 on his Test debut at the same ground, as well as his famous 173-ball 264 — the highest score in One-Day International history. He had also scored a hundred on his IPL debut at the same ground.

Anderson ended unbeaten on 55, belting his third six off the final ball of the 20 overs.


Ghambhir smashes it - literally

Despite losing Robin Uthappa (9) inside the first three overs when he edged a drive to Anderson to Harbhajan Singh at slip, KKR were always in control of the chase.

Skipper Gautam Gambhir top scored with 57 from 43 deliveries (7 fours and a six) as he and Manish Pandey (40 from 24) added 85 for the second wicket.

Suryakumar Yadav made an unbeaten 46 from from just 20 balls and his five maximums eased any pressure that remained.

KKR romped hom with 9 balls to spare in an early statement of intent. They do not intend to relinquish their grip on the title easily!

“It was a tough total to chase, and the way we chased showed we were deserving winners,” said Gambhir. “It was a very good wicket, but we never knew how it was going to behave.

“It was different to the usual wicket we see in Kolkata. The way Morne bowled, the way other guys bowled. Morne was exceptional. The way Sunil came back showed a lot of mental strength. Happy we have started the tournament on a high.”

“We were probably 10-15 runs short, but we should have done a little better with the ball,” said a disapponted Rohit. “There was something for the bowlers still. We didn’t execute the plans well, but I hope the guys can pick it up and come out in a positive manner.

“The wicket was really good, you saw how easily they chased down 170. It was a good knock, but ending up on the losing side doesn’t please you. I’m sure our guys can learn from the mistakes we made.”

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