It was a repeat of sorts performance by the ‘master blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians. It pushed Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders, out of IPL-4 contention, as they succeeded in defeating them yet again by four wickets. Mumbai will now lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday in the qualifier-II, the winner of which will take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash on Saturday. The credit for Mumbai victory goes to its bowlers, who exploited the slow Wankhede strip well and put their side in the driver’s seat by restricting KKR to 145 for 7 in their stipulated 20 overs.
Had it not been the heroics of Dutch batsman Ryan ten Doeschate, who scored an unbeaten 70 under pressure, Kolkata would not managed to reach close to 150-run mark. Kolkata were reeling at 20 for four after six overs but a dogged Doeschate resurrected their innings with his fighting knock which came off 49 balls and had nine boundaries, including three sixes. Munaf Patel (3/27) was the most impressive bowler, while Sri Lanka speedster Lasith Malinga, was as usual, the most economical, giving away just 19 runs apart from taking one wicket.
Having restricted KKR to an achievable score, the hosts then overcame a few hiccups to achieve the target with four balls to spare as they lost few quick wickets after their top order batsmen – Sachin Tendulkar (36) and Aiden Blizzard (51) – laid a solid foundation by adding 81 quick runs to the total. Once again Rohit Sharma (0) failed. Ambati Rayudu (12) and Kieron Pollard (3) too fell early. But James Franklin, who had scripted Mumbai win in the last outing against the same opponent, yet again played sensibly to ensure that KKR do not upset them. Left-handed Franklin scored an unbeaten 29 off 25. With this win, Mumbai Indians cruising closer to the second successive title clash