Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jayasuriya, Sachin run riot as Mumbai Indians trounce Kolkata Knight Riders

The Mumbai Indians hammered the Kolkata Knight Riders by 92 runs in game 17 of the IPL at Port Elizabeth tonight.

“It’s a rare treat for us…we are not going to see this everyday,” gushed a South African journalist as Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya inundated St George’s Park with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.

Half centuries from the legendary opening pair of Tendulkar and Jayasuriya helped Mumbai reach a mammoth 187/6 from their 20 overs, before ‘Slinga' Malinga and the rest of the Mumbai pace attack routed the Kolkata batting for just 95.

With Tendulkar winning the toss, it was no surprise to see him decide to bat first, with Port Elizabeth being notoriously famous for being very difficult to bat under lights.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya opened the batting for the Indians, up against a back in-form Ishant Sharma, who took 2-36 in that heart-breaker of a game against the Rajasthan Royals in Kolkata's last outing.

The Knight Riders made one change to their line-up, dropping an out-of-form Ajit Agarkar in favour of Ashok Dinda, who had himself made way for medium pacer Anureet Singh in the previous game.

The Knight Riders lost Anureet Singh to a twisted ankle in the very first over, as the youngster dived to stop a beautifully timed glance from Tendulkar. It was to be a big blow for the Kolkata team, as the rest of the bowling was ripped to shreds on the night.

After scoring just 4 runs from an impressive first over from Sharma, the Indians exploded in the 2nd, as Tendulkar smashed the first ball he faced from Dinda for a 6 over a third-man. He continued to plunder runs in Dinda's opening over, hitting the medium-pacer for another boundary to take the Indians to 15 for no loss at the end of the second over.

An outstanding third over by Ishant Sharma was ruined by a wide which went for four, and a short delivery on the final ball which Sachin graciously reunited with the boundary hoardings. Sharma had earlier beating Tendulkar thrice in the over, for the last time tonight.

Dinda was hit out of the attack as he went for 12 in his second over, Jayasuriya and Tendulkar tearing the inexperienced pacer apart.

Ishant was brought on for his third over, as McCullum, now desperate for a break through went for broke. Tendulkar however was in no mood for forgiveness as he dragged a ball from well outside the off stump over deep midwicket for a huge six.

Jayasuriya got into the act too, hitting first change Saurav Ganguly for a 16 in his first over. Tendulkar then went after Ajantha Mendis in his opening over, hitting the Sri Lankan mystery spinner out of the ground with a huge slog sweep.

McCullum turned to West Indian skipper Chris Gayle for respite, but Jayasuriya planted Gayle's second ball on the fine leg roof.

The Mumbai Indians raced to an imperious 86 for no loss in just 8 overs.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya continued the carnage in the following over hitting Mendis for a six each. Tendulkar also brought up his half-century in the same over, off just 34 balls.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya safely negotiated the curse of the 11th over, taking just 7 runs off it. Jayasuriya got to his 50th the following over, taking just 26 balls to reach the landmark. Jayasuriya had almost gone unnoticed at the other end, with Tendulkar having most of the early strike; his half-century was amazingly 8 balls faster than Sachin's.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla proved that he was lucky bowler no. 7 for the Kolkata Knight Riders finally picking up the wicket of Tendulkar, shuffling across his stumps, only to be caught plumb in front for 68 off just 45 balls, an innings which included four 6s and six 4s.

Harbhajan Singh was promoted up the order to no. 3 with a license to thrill. He did just that for the few overs that he survived smashing 18 off 8 before he hit one straight down the throat of deep midwicket off Brad Hodge.

In the following over, Laxmi Shukla picked up his second big wicket of the day, getting rid of Sanath Jayasuriya, caught at backward point trying to accelerate the scoring rate.

The wickets kept tumbling for Mumbai as Kolkata mounted a spirited comeback. Abhishek Nayar ran himself out for just 3, and Dwayne Bravo also fell for the same score trying to heave the ball into the crowd.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla picked up his third wicket of the match, getting Shikhar Dhawan for 12, as the Knight Riders made a match of the encounter in the last few overs.

The Mumbai Indians though setting a record total of 187 for 6 at Port Elizabeth could and probably should have got more than 200 given their start. With the last five overs going for just 36 runs, the Kolkata Knight Riders would have believed that they were still very much in this game, especially if they were to get a good start from their big three - Gayle, McCullum and Ganguly.

The Kolkata Knight Riders however made a sedate start, looking to play themselves in under the difficult lights at Port Elizabeth. Malinga picked up the first wicket of the innings with the last ball of the second over, McCullum playing a tad too early to a ball that appeared to grip the surface, and JP Duminy taking a great catch diving forward at short point.

Chris Gayle responded in perfect fashion, hitting the 150th six of the tournament, dispatching a short one from Dwayne Bravo deep into the crowd over the longest boundary in the stadium.

Bravo made a brave effort off his own bowling when Chris Gayle chipped one back in the direction of the bowler. The chance however cost his team nothing as Gayle edged the next ball straight through to Sachin Tendulkar standing at one-and-a-half-slip.

Kolkata got their act together in the 5th over, taking 15 off it as Ganguly and Hodge got stuck into Dwayne Bravo.

Tendulkar rather surprisingly brought on Harbhajan Singh to bowl the last over with the fielding restrictions, and Ganguly took full toll of his former Indian teammate, dispatching him for a couple of boundaries through that magical off-side of his.

Zaheer Khan, who had been only used for the one over so far, was brought back by Tendulkar to stem the run flow, and the Indian pace ace responded to his captain's call, giving away just 3 runs off the seventh over.

Ganguly and Hodge took Kolkata through to 70 for 2 till the strategy-break, but the Knight Riders were dealt a killer blow losing Brad Hodge clean bowled by Abhishek Nayar for 24 off the second ball of the 11th over.

Running out of options with the required run rate climbing through the roof, Ganguly tried to take the attack to Abhishek Nayar, but only succeeded in hitting the ball miles high, presenting an easy catch to Dwayne Bravo in the covers.

Nayar made it a second one for the over as Arindam Ghosh fell for a golden duck, caught by Tendulkar at short midwicket.

As everything he touched turned to gold, Tendulkar kept wringing the changes, and each one resulted in a wicket. Dwayne Bravo picked up his second of the game, and then Zaheer Khan rather surprisingly his first of the tournament so far.

In a perfect finale to the match Lasith Malinga cleaned up the tail completely, knocking over the last couple of wickets to bring an early end to proceedings. The Kolkata Knight Riders were a shameful 95 all out, and Mumbai climbed back up to 3rd in the table with a crunching 92 run victory.

A visibly delighted Tendulkar spoke after the game, "Everything went according to plan. Maybe we could have got to 200, but everything else went right."

1 comment:

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