Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's five in-a-row now - Jayasuriya, Pollock rout Kolkata Knight Riders

It's five in-a-row now

Led by the redoubtable Shaun Pollock, the Mumbai Indians routed Kolkata Knight Riders for the lowest ever total in the Indian Premier League before racing to a comprehensive eight-wicket victory, their fifth in a row, at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday night.

Pollock snapped up 3 for 12 in four devastating overs to virtually flatten the visiting team before the other pace bowlers in the home team's attack provided the great South African all-rounder, retired from international cricket, some splendid support to skittle out the Sourav Ganguly-led Knight Riders for a pathetic-reading 67 in 15.2 overs.

Form of his life

Sanath Jayasuriya, who lashed Chennai Super Kings' attack while making a splendid 114 not out with eleven sixes and nine fours, continued in the same vein after being dropped off the first ball to make 48 not out (17 balls with six fours and three sixes) to help the hosts surge to a thumping win in only 5.3 overs.

Sachin Tendulkar (0) failed for the second match running, but Jayasuriya, who struck three sixes in one over off danger man Shoaib Akhtar, killed off any slender hopes of the visitors.

The comprehensive win brought the resurgent Mumbai Indians level on points (10 each) with the Kolkata team.

Vintage Pollock in action

The hero of the day for Mumbai Indians was their pace attack spearheaded so well by Pollock who came up with a deadly spell on a helpful Wankhede Stadium track to rip the heart out of the Kolkata team.

Put in to bat, the Knight Riders were in dire straits by losing half their side with only 29 on the board as the top-order was undone by some exceptional seam bowling on a bouncy and pacy track by Pollock, to a large extent, and his West Indian comrade-in-arms Dwayne Bravo.

Bravo, who is to return home after this match to get involved in the Test and ODI series against Australia, had impressive figures of 2 for 13.

Later, local talent Rohan Raje and Australian Dominic Thornely grabbed two wickets apiece as the Kolkata team were shot out for the lowest total in the IPL, the previous worst being Bangalore Royals' 82 against them, inside 16 overs

Awe-struck knights

Only Salman Butt (13), Ganguly (15) and Ajit Agarkar (15) reached double figures in a shocking display from a team aiming for a spot in the semi-finals.

The visitors totally lost their bearings after starting reasonably well when Pakistani left-hander Butt and Aakash Chopra put on 16 in the first two overs.

Butt hit Pollock for a four and then slashed Ashish Nehra for a fine six over the cover region and things looked a bit rosy for Kolkata who had lost to the home team earlier in the tournament at the Eden Gardens that started the latter's winning streak after four straight defeats.

But in the third over things took a dramatic turn as the visitors lost two wickets off successive balls. Pollock removed Butt by having the batsman caught at slip by Tendulkar, trying to drive. Then Chopra was run out due to a terrible mix-up with Ganguly to leave Kolkata at a dismal 16 for two after three overs.

Pollock then dealt two huge blows by sending back in-form batsman David

Fearsome pace attack

Australian Hussey edged an intended drive to wicket keeper Yogesh Takawale while Hafeez, without getting his eye in, tried an injudicious drive to a rising delivery from Pollock and the high edge was taken well at second slip by Robin Uthappa.

Pollock's deadly spell read 4-0-12-3 and he had ripped out the heart from the visiting team's batting to make it easy for the other bowlers. It was a repeat of his splendid display that rocked Chennai Super Kings on the back foot two nights ago before being rescued by S Badrinath and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. There was none to do so on Friday.

Bravo struck a blow when he induced Wriddhiman Saha to edge to Tendulkar a defensive prod and Kolkata were left gasping at 29 for five.

Seeing the visiting team in disarray, Tendulkar brought into action his second-string pace attack and it paid rich dividends when Rohan Raje clean bowled all rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla when he shaped to clip the ball off his toes.

Riders raided brutally

Ganguly watched grimly from the other end when the mayhem took place and started to assert himself in the company of Agarkar who slammed Raje for two fours in one over to bring some cheers to the struggling visitors' ranks.

At the half way mark Kolkata were 44 for six with very little batting left to bail them out of the deep hole. The seventh wicket duo added 19 runs, the highest for the innings thus far, when Ganguly was caught behind trying to guide Thornely towards the third man region and wicket-keeper Takawale took a juggling catch at the second attempt. The rest folded up meekly.

Tendulkar took four catches, most in an innings by a fielder in the IPL.

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