File image: BCCI, iplt20.com
Since 2013 Kolkata Knight Riders have never lost its first game of the season. Despite having such a glorious streak in the first match, it wasn’t also entirely shocking to see that the ‘juggernaut’ came to halt in Abu Dhabi.
Along the way, Mumbai Indians not only registered its first win of this IPL but also the first win in the UAE after losing 6 matches in a row (five of those came in 2014).
After four days of high-voltage drama, IPL 2020 finally did witness a one-sided contest when MI comprehensively defeated KKR by a huge margin of 49 runs.
The match was billed as the battle between KKR's explosive middle-order and MI's bowling might. MI bowlers did over-power KKR but credit goes to skipper Rohit Sharma’s belligerent knock of 80 runs off just 54 balls.
Sharma hit 6 sixes while the entire KKR innings had a total of 7 sixes. “I haven't played a lot of cricket in the last six months time and was looking to spend some time in the middle; it didn't come out well in the first innings(vs. CSK) but glad to have done it tonight,” said a visibly pleased captain after the match.
Rohit’s partner for the second wicket was Suryakumar Yadav who even managed to outpace Sharma by scoring 47 runs off just 28 balls after hitting just a solitary six.
A day of two extremes for Cummins
“He was one of the best and most feared hitters I have come up against in my career. It can be the first ball of the match and he might be hitting over your head for a six! So, I am happy that he is in my team as a coach and that I don't have to bowl to him," Cummins said this about Brendon McCullum (according to KKR's official website) a couple of days back.
He was brutally reminded by Mumbai Indians batters that there are still some great hitters in the rival camp when he went for 49 runs in his three overs.
Also Read: IPL 2020 Match Preview: KKR’s batting grenade up against MI’s versatile bowling
The million-dollar baby of IPL 2020, Pat Cummins (who was bought for INR 15.5 crores in the players’ auction) was treated with utter disdain and he could not even finish his quota of four overs.
“I think it was a pretty rusty day to be honest, I don't want to get too analytical about it but its OK the boys realised where they could have done better. Couple of the guys - Cummins and Morgan - just finished their quarantine today; it is hard-playing in the heat and getting used to the conditions,” defended captain Dinesh Karthik after the loss.
The only consolation from the match for Cummins was that he became the only batsman in T20 history to hit four sixes off a Jasprit Bumrah over.
Cummins’ 33 runs of 12 balls was the highest individual innings from KKR and more than Cummins batting brilliance, it speaks more about KKR’s miserable batting performance in the match.
Bumrah on song
The onslaught by Cummins in his last over can hardly be held against Jasprit Bumrah in the match. He bowled his first three overs against the formidable trio of Karthik, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russel and they could barely touch the ball as Bumrah conceded just 5 runs!
Bumrah’s new ball partner Trent Boult was more economical of the two but the New Zealander too knew that who the real bowling hero of the match was. “I wouldn't say I'm comfortable in these heat and conditions. It's a big challenge to bowl against the likes of Morgan and Russell but it's nice to come out on the winning side tonight,” said Boult after the match.
Mumbai on top again
For KKR, the match was effectively over on the very first ball of the 16th over of their batting innings when Russell departed and score was 100 for 5. Soon it became 103 for 7 and Cummins cameo only delayed the inevitable. In the end, perhaps it wasn’t too surprising to see the MI’s dominance now extending to their 20th win against KKR (who have managed just half a dozen wins against MI). Incidentally, the win has also put Rohit Sharma’s team on the top of the table.
(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here