Kolkata Knight Riders fans were shocked by change in the captaincy mid-way in the season, and their team finished the day with a very uncharacteristic surrender to Mumbai Indians.
KKR batting - Just 61 runs were scored in the first 64 balls after the loss of 5 wickets
MI batting - 90 runs were scored in the first 62 balls without any loss of wickets
This comparative figure clearly explains the gulf between the two teams in the October 16 encounter in Abu Dhabi. The completely-one-sided win by a massive margin of 8 wickets has now taken Mumbai Indians to the top of the table points (12) once more, while Kolkata Knight Riders has been given a big blow even if their standing in the table is not as bad as KXIP, RR or CSK.
However, the sudden change of captaincy from Dinesh Karthik to Eoin Morgan just ahead of the match doesn’t speak well of a team. A chase of 149 runs appeared to be a cake-walk for MI as opener Quinton de Kock scored an unbeaten 78 runs off just 44 balls with 3 sixes and 9 fours.
“I was disappointed at not finishing it off last game, Mahela had a word to us - he keeps us in check, in focus, it's nice to have such people around,” said de Kock – after getting the Man of the Match award.
Captain Rohit Sharma’s love-affair with KKR continued with another fine 35 (off36 balls) in his team’s fifth win in a row in IPL 2020.
“I prefer batting with him (de Kock), he’s very straightforward, likes to take on the bowler from the word go - but I usually like to assess the situation,” said Rohit who played the second fiddle in during their game-changing opening partnership.
The bowlers set the tone
However, the win was set-up by a versatile Mumbai attack which clicked in unison again. A luxury very few teams can afford in the IPL. Trent Boult and Nathan Coulter Nile were a bit expensive but got the wickets of Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana, leg-spinner Rahul Chahar ( 4 overs and just 18 runs) got Shubman Gill and Dinesh Karthik in back to back deliveries. Jasprit Bumrah ensured that there was no rescue-act by Andre Russell.
All-rounder Pat Cummins might have scored his first T20 half-century ( 53 off 36 balls) and out-scored his captain Morgan(39 off 29 balls). But, it was never going to be adequate against a powerful batting line up like MI.
“It’s special to chase and win, it gives us plenty of confidence. We didn’t chase a lot in the first half (of the tournament), think we were clinical with both bat and ball, the expected performance was there,” said a visibly pleased Rohit Sharma in his post match chat with the host broadcaster.
Outplayed and out-thought
“We weren’t in the race at all really, being four or five down. Managed to get a score on the board but when Mumbai play like that, they are hard to stop,” said KKR’s new captain Morgan after the match.
KKR fans were shocked by change in the captaincy mid-way in the season, and their team finished the day with a very uncharacteristic surrender.
Vimal Kumar has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. The author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide can be reached @Vimalwa on Twitter)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here