Bengaluru: Mumbai Indians, on Friday, produced an all-round performance to comprehensively defeat Kolkata Knight Riders by 6 wickets, in IPL Qualifier 2, and set-up a date with Rising Pune Supergiant in the final.
MI skipper Rohit Sharma immediately put KKR in to bat first, after he won the toss, something that was no surprise, as MI have won seven out of the 10 games in which they have batted second.
They got off to a flying start, as Jasprit Bumrah removed Chris Lynnin the second over of the match. It turned out to be a master-stroke by Rohit Sharma, as he gave Bumrah the new ball for the first time in this season's IPL.
Then began the Karn Sharma show.
The 29-year-old had done well to keep star spinner Harbhajan Singh off the starting XI, and continued to justify his selection with some brilliant bowling. He removed KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir and the dangerous Sunil Narine early on, to put even more pressure on the KKr batters.
Meanwhile, Bumrah did more damage from the other end, to get the in-form Robin Uthappa's wicket.
KKR were in a free-fall by then, with wickets tumbling at regular intervals, before Suryakumar Yadav (31) and Ishank Jaggi (28) anchored the innings for a while.
However, Karn and Bumrah came back to remove Jaggi and Suryakumar, respectively, before old warhorse Mitchell Johnson cleaned-up the KKR tail with two wickets to his name.
The modest total of 107-10 posted by KKR was hardly going to be enough to stop the Mumbai juggernaut, but Gautam Gambhir's men came out with every intent of putting up the best fight they had in themselves.
Piyush Chawla bowled well in the initial overs, to remove Lendl Simmons and Ambati Rayudu, but MI skipper Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya anchored the innings in the middle overs, to guide MI closer to the win.
Although Rohit got out close to the end, playing a loose shot off Nathan Coultier-Nile's bowling, Mumbai hardly ever looked in trouble, as their captain had steered their ship to safety before perishing himself.
In the end, it was Krunal, who scored the winning runs for Mumbai, who now meet Rising Pune Supergiant in the final, at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Sunday.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 107-10 from 18.5 overs (Suryakumar Yadav: 31, Ishank Jaggi: 28; Karn Sharma: 4-16, Jasprit Bumrah 3-7).
Mumbai Indians: 111-4 from 14.3 overs (Krunal Pandya: 45*, Rohit Sharma: 26; Piyush Chawla: 2-34, Nathan Coultier-Nile: 1-15)
MI defeat KKR by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match: Karn Sharma.
MI: 111-4 from 14.3 overs
Umesh into the attack, and he starts off with a wide. KKR's hopes are all but lost now. The paceman then sends in a bouncer, as Krunal plays an upper-cut. The ball lobbed up in the air towards Coultier-Nile, who dived, but failed to take the catch, as the ball rolled away for a for. MI beat KKR by 6 wickets, to book a date with RPS in the IPL final, in Hyderabad, on Sunday.
MI: 105-4 from 14 overs
Very poor fielding by Grandhomme at deep square-leg. The ball slipped between his legs, and rolled onto the ropes for a 4 off Rajpoot's bowling. In footballing terms, he was nutmegged, something that no defender likes. And then Krunal drives Rajpoot down the ground for another 4. This takes MI to within 3 runs of their target.
MI: 88-4 from 12.2 overs
WICKET! Rohit Sharma goes for an unnecessary big shot on the leg side, but only managed to find Rajpoot in the deep off Coultier-Nile's bowling. There was no need to play that shot at this stage. Mumbai were (or rather are still) cruising.
MI: 88-3 from 12 overs
Mumbai have decided that they are in a hurry to get on the flight to Hyderabad for the IPL final. Krunal is now going after the tricky Narine as well. Surprisingly, he picked the West Indian well, to smash 2 consecutive 4s.
MI: 80-3 from 11 overs
Chawla comes in for his final over, but Krunal has decided to go after the leggie. He hits 2 consecutive 4s off Chawla, to take MI closer to the final. rohit Sharma also decides to go after Chawla on the last ball of his over, sending it to the roof of the stands. That was a huge six.
MI: 64-3 from 10 overs
Narine puts in another good over, but its the wickets that KKR need right now. Just 3 runs off that one.
MI: 61-3 from 9 overs
Chawla back into the attack, and Rohit times a half volley through the covers for a 4. He really makes it look easy when he gets going. However, he is still finding it hard to pick the wrong-un. Later, Krunal, also managed to get a boundary behind the wicket, as he gets a fine bottom edge while sweeping a Chawla delivery. Big over, this, 11 off it.
MI: 50-3 from 8 overs
Coultier-Nile continues to slog on, as he tries to stifle the runs from one end. The pitch seems to be lacking pace, which is making it a bit difficult for the batters. 6 off that over.
MI: 44-3 from 7 overs
Gambhir has gone on the full offensive mode. He gives Narine 2 slips, in an attempt to get the wickets. Judging by how the MI batsmen are failing to read him, the field placement looks justified. However, Krunal does well to paddle-sweep, that goes fine behind the wicket, and races away for a 4.
MI: 34-3 from 5.4 overs
WICKET! Chawla does it again! The spinners have been clearly troubling Rayudu. This time, he completely misses a wrong-un from Chawla, as the ball crashes into the stumps, triggering the red lights on the bails.
MI: 32-2 from 5 overs
Narine puts in a good over. There is some turn in this wicket, which troubled Rayudu a bit. MI could only score 2 off that over.
MI: 30-2 from 4 overs
Nathan-Coultier-Nile into the attack. Although he got smacked a couple of times, he bowled to the field that his captain has set him, which is why Mumbai could only get 6 runs off his over.
MI: 24-2 from 2.5 overs
WICKET! Umesh seems to be having a poor day with the ball today. Keeps straying into Parthiv’s pads, and the diminutive southpaw simply strokes it towards the backward square-leg boundary for yet another 4. KKR cannot offer lose deliveries like this. However, he comes back well to get Parthiv, who played for the expansive drive, but only managed to edge it to Uthappa behind the wicket.
MI: 14-1 from 2 overs
A good first over from Chawla. He somewhat made-up for Umesh's fist over. 3 runs and a wicket from that one.
MI: 11-1 from 1.3 overs
WICKET! Piyush Chawla gets KKR the breakthrough that they were so desparately looking for. his wrong-un traps Simmons plumb infront of the middle stump.
MI: 11-0 from 1 over
This is not the start that KKR would have been looking for. A mis-field by Jaggi, and a couple of loose deliveries by Umesh gives MI a good first over.
KKR: 107-9 from 18.5 overs
WICKET! Lasith Malinga finally gets his yorker on target, after missing it in the last couple of balls. The change of pace on this slower yorker did the trick for the Sri Lankan, as the ball dipped dipped beneath Rajpoot's bat, and crashed into the stumps. That brings an end to a miserable innings for KKR.
KKR: 106-9 from 18 overs
WICKETS! The old warhorse has done the trick again! Just as we though that the KKR tail may be able to carry through, the Aussie southpaw removes danger man Nathan Coultier-Nile, and Suryakumar Yadav in quick succession.
KKR: 94-7 from 16.1 overs
WICKET! Johnson picks up his first wicket of the match. Chawla fails to make proper contact with the ball, as he tries to slog it over long on. However, he only managed to fing Rayudu in the deep.
KKR: 92-6 from 16 overs
Pandya is firing in the bouncers one after the other, something that seems to be troubling Piyush Chawla, who failed to connect with either of the two bouncers.
Rohit Sharma brings Hardik Pandya back into the attack.
KKR: 87-6 from 14.5 overs
WICKET! Karn sharma gets yeat another wicket. With the momentum back on KKR's side, ?Jaggi dances down the track to slog Karn down the ground. However, he did not connect well with that, and sent it straight at Johnson, who took a good catch in the deep.
KKR: 71-5 from 13 overs
Jaggi has also stepped-up the show. The duo of Jaggi and Suryakumar are scoring at a brisk pace now.
Suryakumar is getting into the act now. Plays a brilliant inside-out over the covers for a four. 10 runs off that over. KKR have picked up the pace.
KKR: 61-5 from 12 overs
Jaggi welcomes Johnson back into the attack with a cracking boundary through the covers. This is a good tactic being employed by KKR. They are trying to get a boundary early on in the over, and then follow it up with a bunch of singles.
KKR: 53-5 from 11 overs
Suryakumar lifted some of the pressure off KKR, with an early six off Krunal's over. Him and Jaggi did well to rotate the strike for the rest of the over, scoring 10 runs off it. KKR need more overs like this, from now on.
KKR: 43-5 from 10 overs
Malinga back into the attack, and he starts off with a cracker of a delivery that goes past Jaggi's outside edge. The Sri Lankan ends with a good over. Just 4 runs off it.
KKR: 39-5 from 9 overs
And he almost got it. Massive spin off the middle and off stump. Jaggi slashed hard at it, but it went just past his outside edge, into Parthiv's gloves. He goes on to bowl a brilliant over. Just three runs from it.
Karn Sharma back into the attack. He is on a hat-trick, mind you. this should be interesting.
KKR: 36-5 from 8 overs
Rohit introduces Krunal Pandya into the attack. Spin form both ends, it seems. These five early wickets have certainly turned the screws on KKR, who have called for a strategic timeout. A much-needed one for them, we feel.
KKR: 31-5 from 7 overs
WICKET! Karn Sharma is on fire tonight! Fires in a straighter one, and catches Grandhomme off guard, to trap him lbw.
KKR: 31-4 from 6.5 overs
WICKET! Oh, this is a huge wivcket for MI! Gambhir goes for the big slog sweep against Karn Sharma. Despite playing with the turn, he failed to clear Hardik Pandya at deep square-leg.
KKR: 25-3 from 6 overs
Brilliant over by Bumrah. Its a wicket-and-maiden! Now how many times do we get to see that, especially in T20 cricket. Champions Trophy glory is calling for this lad?
KKR: 25-3 from 5.2 overs
WICKET! Bumrah back into the attack, and he does the trick immediately. Traps Uthappa plumb in front of the stumps with an in-swinger, after a couple slower deliveries. KKR are in deep trouble now.
KKR: 24-2 from 4.4 overs
Karn Sharma seems to have a concrete plan to bowl into Narine’s legs. And it works perfectly! He sends in a googly on the off stump, as Narine dances down the stracks to slog him on the leg side. however, he completely missed the turn on the ball, and Parthiv Patel swiftly whipped off the bails to render the Trinidadian batsman stumped out.
Karn Sharma into the attack. Rohit Sharma is not letting the KKR batsmen settle in.
KKR: 22-1 from 4 overs
Narine seems to be getting into the act. Simply flicks Malinga off his pads for a six. This is no mean feat, mind you. Nine runs from that over. KKR are picking up the pace.
Rohit Sharma brings Lasith Malinga into the attack. Saving Bumrah for the death overs, perhaps?
KKR: 13-1 from 3 overs
Johnson still has the pace to trouble the KKR batsmen. However, Gambhir struck him for a classy-looking cover drive for a boundary. That will do KKR’s confidence some good. He just timed it to the boundary.
KKR: 5-1 from 1.3 overs
WICKET! Slower ball by Bumrah, and Lynn completely fails to pick the pace, as he goes for the big slog over long on. Only manages to find Pollard in that position. Mumbai have got the all-important early wicket.
KKR: 3-0 from 1 over
Mitchell Johnson starts off with a good over. He even managed to catch Lynn by surprise with a bouncer after a couple of slower balls. The ball caught the top edge of the bat, but went just beyond Malinga.
Kolkata Knight Riders XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Ishank Jaggi, Suryakumar Yadav, Colin de Grandhomme, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot
Mumbai Indians XI: Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
Rohit sharma has won the toss, and has decided to field first.
Preview: We are at the business end of the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League, and it doesn’t get more serious than this. Two sides – Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, who have already won the title twice, are vying for an unprecedented third title.
Mumbai Indians have been on tremendous form this season, ending the league stage with 10 wins. Their batting unit has been impeccable this season, chasing the targets set for them seven out of 10 times so far. The likes of Parthiv Patel, Nitish Rana, Rohit Sharma, and Kieron Pollard impart a lot of fireworks to the top order.
They also have a long list of top quality bowlers, who can both take wickets, and stifle the runs. The presence of top quality death bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, and Mitchell McClenaghan makes their bowling lineup all the more formidable.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders have played some exciting cricket during the season, with captain Gautam Gambhir leading the way with some innovative tactics.
The likes of Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, and Gambhir, have been instrumental for KKR with the bat, while Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, and Nathan Coultier-Nile have been devastating with the ball.