Kolkata: Ishan Kishan smashed a 17-ball half-century and led defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI) to No. 4 spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a resounding 102-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old left-hander Kishan blazed 62 off 21 balls with five fours and six sixes which propelled MI to 210-6.
KKR lost their way early on in pursuit of their biggest run-chase in the IPL before they were bowled out for only 108 in 18.1 overs.
MI pushed KKR to No. 5 on superior net run-rate with both teams on 10 points with five victories from 11 games.
" As a team we tend to pick up during the month of May. Hope we do it sooner. (It's) Never easy to be on the line all the time and be desperate for wins towards the second half (of the tournament). (We) Would like to start the tournament on a high. But in the past three years, we have been at the bottom of the table. I'm glad we came together and performed as a team today," MI captain Rohit Sharma said.
Rohit made it clear that Ishan's knock was the turning point of the game against KKR.
"Without doubt Ishan Kishan's fearless knock was the turning point. He just came in and changed momentum. I was assessing the pitch at that point, ball was sticking in the pitch, it wasn't easy, but he changed the game. We were 65 after first ten overs, but scoring 145 in last ten overs is a magnificent effort by all the batters. Ben Cutting as well, he hasn't been getting much opportunity as well, it's not easy to come out and play shots like that," added Rohit.
Kolkata openers Chris Lynn (21) and Sunil Narine (4) were dismissed inside the batting powerplay. Narine top edged in the first over and Lynn was run out in a mix-up with Robin Uthappa.
Uthappa (14) holed out at deep midwicket in leg-spinner Mayank Markande's first over and, when Andre Russell was caught at cover, KKR had lost all its hard-hitters and reeled at 54-4 in eight overs.
Poor running between the wickets cost captain Dinesh Karthik, who was run out in another mix-up with Nitish Rana.
The Pandya brothers – seamer Hardik (2-12) and left-arm spinner Krunal (2-16) – picked up two wickets each as KKR lost both its games against MI.
"It was a good batting wicket, but we lost wickets in the powerplay and it's always tough to catch up," Karthik said.
"We need to raise our skill levels and belief a bit, as a leader I need to stand up and say I believe in the boys."
Earlier, after being sent into bat, KKR had no answer to Kishan's sensational hitting as he used his feet well against both spinners and seamers.
Kishan smashed medium fast Prasidh Krishna (1-41) for three boundaries in an over before smacking four successive sixes off left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav (0-43).
Ben Cutting (24 off 9) provided a perfect finish to the innings when Piyush Chawla (3-48) conceded 22 runs in the last over with the Australian hitting a four and two sixes, and Krunal lofted the leg-spinner for a six off the last ball....