GOTCHA!: The maestro's wicket that turned the match.
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MUMBAI: Kolkata Knight Riders entrapped Mumbai Indians in a web of deceit as ‘mystery’ spinner Sunil Narine weaved for them a 32-run win at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
Kolkata were sent in to bat and struggled to 140-7 in their allocated quota, after which they scuppered Mumbai’s chase with regular wickets. The star performer for Shahrukh Khan’s franchise was young Narine, who proved impossible to read even for the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, and ended with match figures of four for 15. He was supported admirably, for once, by Lakshmipathy Balaji, who took two for 11 from four tight overs.
The win lifted KKR to the second spot on the table with 19 points - one behind league leaders Delhi Daredevils, a place in the play-offs now written in stone. For this most pleasing result, KKR should thank their bowlers.
Chasing an apparently innocuous 141, Mumbai lost Herschelle Gibbs early – leg-before to Iqbal Abdullah - and were stupefied when Narine got a searing off-break to clatter into Tendulkar’s stumps. Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu, victims of frank indiscretion, followed soon after, and when Kieron Pollard was caught behind off a short Jacques Kallis delivery, Mumbai were in freefall.
They lost their last six wickets for 12 runs, as Narine lured Harbhajan Singh with a delivery that spun away, and Rohit Sharma with one that straightened. Nobody displayed the stomach to hang around, and KKR romped home when R.P. Singh hoicked Narine to deep mid-wicket, where he was caught by Abdullah, as Mumbai folded for 108 in the 20th over.
Kolkata, however, had begun the match disastrously. They were jolted by an abominable leg-before decision and an R.P. Singh ripper as they lost two key batsmen in the second over of the first innings, after Mumbai elected to field.
On a wicket not quite conducive to shot-making, the visitors were pegged back by the early double blow, and although Manoj Tiwary attempted a restructuring of the innings, Kolkata had to satisfy themselves with a total – their lowest of the season - that seemed insufficient against the might of Mumbai’s batting.
R.P. Singh made early inroads and his first success was more fortuitous that anything else. Opener Brendon McCullum charged down the pitch and was struck on the pads. The ball had pitched outside leg, the batsman too was a mile out of the crease, yet umpire Subroto Das raised his finger for a horrendous decision, sending the disappointed New Zealander on his way.
On the next ball, R.P. knocked back Kallis' off stump, putting Kolkata in a right spot with two wickets down in the second over. Gautam Gambhir, the man in form, also struggled for runs. He was handed two reprieves - by the wicketkeeper and by Tendulkar - and was finally bowled by Kieron Pollard on 27.
Manoj Tiwary hung around, interspersing a rash of singles with a couple of fours and sixes, and was out after scoring 41. Yusuf Pathan did precious little to salvage his poor season. The burly hitter was handed a quasi ‘life’ when he was caught off an R.P. Singh no-ball, but could not build on it, finishing with a laborious unbeaten 21.