The game between Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders was synonymous to a roller-coaster ride as both teams had their fans at the edge of their seats, right till the penultimate delivery of the game.
Mumbai, after slumping to defeat against Pune in their opening game, were in dire requisite of a victory. Kolkata Knight Riders, on the contrary, oozed confidence after a thumping win over Gujarat Lions. Nevertheless, the fortunes turned as Mumbai edged past Kolkata by four wickets in a thriller at the Wankhede Stadium.
We take you through along five burning talking points from the riveting contest in the seventh encounter of IPL 2017.
#5 Krunal Pandya’s crucial strikes
The Knight Riders got themselves off to yet another flier with Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn carrying on the good work from their previous contest. However, the left-arm spin of Krunal Pandya broke the stand as Gambhir attempted a slog sweep over square leg only to find the bucket-like hands of Mitchell McClenaghan.
Robin Uthappa, after being demoted from the opener’s slot to No. 3, couldn’t quite set the stage on fire as he perished after scorching a solitary boundary. Following a streaky boundary down to third man, Uthappa went for the slog-sweep over mid-wicket, but unfortunately, the ball traced into the hands of the younger Pandya, Hardik.
The Knight Riders were sitting pretty at 44 without loss, but Pandya’s scalps pulled things back for Mumbai by getting rid of the two stalwarts from the Kolkata franchise and also putting a lid on the run fest.
#4 Carnage by Manish Pandey
After losing Gambhir and Uthappa, KKR were in need of a calm head who could shepherd them to a total of respectability. Knight Riders were in all sorts of trouble as from the 7th to the 11th over, they could only grind a meagre 23 runs with wickets at regular intervals adding to their woes.
Manish Pandey decided to break the shackles and go for the juggernaut by taking on the Mumbai Indians bowlers. He was subdued during the early phase of his knock, but shifted gears effectively to keep the scoreboard moving.
He accomplished his half-century in 37 balls after which he took McClenaghan to the cleaners in the final over of the innings, which fetched 23 runs. Pandey, eventually cantered to 81 runs in 47 deliveries that had five gigantic sixes off the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga and McClenaghan.
#3 Shoddy Umpiring
T20 cricket is all about turns and twists and a single blemish can turn a match on its head. Umpires are under pressure to stay focused throughout the entire length of a match and ensure smooth proceedings of the game.
However, the on-field umpires weren’t quite at their best as a couple of decisions during the Mumbai Indians’ innings were shocking, to say the least. Jos Butler was the first victim when Ankit Rajpoot pinned the Englishman in front, but replays had a different story to narrate.
The impact of the ball was on leg stump and along with late swing, the ball would have missed the stumps by a fair margin. Rohit Sharma inside-edged a delivery by Sunil Narine onto the pads, which was also given out LBW and quite justifiably, Sharma had all reasons to feel aggrieved.
Seeing a lot of domestic umpires in this seasons @IPL ,and the umpiring standards have been way below par...arguably the worst ..contd— subramani badrinath (@s_badrinath) April 9, 2017
#2 Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya’s heroics
It’s the Indian Premier League and this time there were two Indians who went hell for leather to pull Mumbai out of the pits and ensure that their team romp home to glory. Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya took the KKR attack by the scruff of the neck from the word go to leave their opposition in shambles.
Rana impressed during Mumbai’s opening game against the Rising Pune Supergiants and coming in at No. 3 in the star-studded batting line, he added to his reputation of being a decent batsman. He displayed a calm temperament with a dynamically crafty knock of 50 runs from 29 balls, but was dismissed with Mumbai needing 19 runs from their final nine balls.
After Rana’s demise, the baton of taking over the responsibility of winning the game for Mumbai was passed on to Hardik Pandya and he didn’t disappoint one bit. The cameo of 29 runs from 11 balls was too hot to handle for the Knight Riders as he kept belting one ball after the other to drill the nail into the coffin of KKR’s chances.
#1 Dew turning detrimental
Dew has been a debatable topic over many years and its effects in a game can’t be ruled out by any stretch of the imagination. Kolkata Knight Riders, during the dying stages of the game, had to face its wrath as it ultimately robbed them of a probable victory.
Though the spinners maintained their composure while bowling with the wet ball, the dew inflicted its vicious effects on the fielders. With 11 runs required for Mumbai Indians in the last over, a miss-field, followed by a drop catch of Hardik Pandya gifted Mumbai with a win on their IPL home ground.
While Surya Kumar Yadav fumbled, fielding at long-on, Rishi Dhawan - the substitute fielder in place of Gambhir - lost his balance while pouching a skier from Pandya. Dew is a major factor why teams opt to field first in night games. It won’t be bewildering if all nights games have teams opting to bat second in order to evade the dew factor