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The Mumbai Indians are at a stage in the tournament where they could ill-afford mistakes. Before the start of this game, they were tied for points with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
With a rock-solid all-round show today in a home game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, they’ve made their qualification chances just a tiny bit better. The margin of today's victory — 65 runs — will also help their net run rate.
On the other hand, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders can bid their chances goodbye. With a shambolic batting performance, they scored their eighth defeat in 12 games and it appears that there will be no miraculous comebacks from this point for Gautam Gambhir’s boys.
Mumbai made good on a breezy start by Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith, posting a very good score of 170 on a wicket with a little extra bounce. Kolkata were doomed the moment Mitchell Johnson removed Gambhir for a duck. Their middle order hasn’t clicked this season and fell cheaply to Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha who claimed five wickets between them.
Struggling Tendulkar finds runs
Tendulkar was bowled the fourth time in the last six innings (the other two being LBWs), but before he fell to Rajat Bhatia, he entertained the full house at the Wankhede with strokes all around the wicket. It was the first innings of authority Tendulkar has played in a while in the tournament.
The 40-year-old took five consecutive fours in an over from Ryan McLaren to get the innings going. His innings was briefly interrupted by the failure of two light towers at the Wankhede.
He and Dwayne Smith resumed their hitting after the interruption. Tendulkar hit three more fours and moved to 48. With his second fifty of the tournament in sight, he fell to Bhatia trying to scoop him past the wicketkeeper.
Mumbai lost some middle order wickets in a heap, including Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh run-out without facing a ball. But Dinesh Karthik ended the innings with a quick 34 that ensured the momentum remained with Mumbai. McLaren came in for more punishment in the last over. Karthik and Johnson took 25 off it. McLaren had a chance to make amends with the bat. But it just wasn’t his day.