Defending champions Mumbai Indians were handed a 41-run defeat by Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening game of the 2014 IPL at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi. KKR captain, Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to bat first. Things did not start off well for the Kolkata outfit as Lasith Malinga yorked Gambhir early in the innings, but a determined 131-run partnership between Manish Pandey and Jacques Kallis helped KKR finish strongly. In reply, Mumbai Indians were undone by a miserly spell from fast bowler Morne Morkel before Sunil Narine’s four wickets saw the wheels come off their chase.
Mi bowlers strangle KKR
With the new ball in hand, Zaheer Khan returning for his second stint with the Mumbai Indians, had a clear plan. On a wicket with a generous tinge of green, the left-armer maintained a tight channel. All six balls were bowled full and Zaheer even got the ball to dart around. Gautam Gambhir, was kept guessing as Zaheer brought a couple of deliveries in to the left-hander before slipping in a couple of away-swingers.
Gambhir managed to get wood on a couple, but after being beaten a few times, it was evident that the wicket at the Sheikh Zayed stadium was not the easiest to bat on.
In the following over from Malinga, Gambhir was served two yorkers, the second one shattered the timber. Just 28 runs came off the Powerplay overs with only a four and a six being hit. Manish Pandey and Jacques Kallis were content to play out dot balls as they got their eye in. Mumbai used four bowlers in the first six overs, and they seemed to have done their job.
Kallis steps on pedal
In fourth ball of the 14th over, Kallis batting on 34 off 30 tried to make room outside off.
Kieron Pollard followed the batsmen with an over-pitched delivery on to Kallis’ pads. The burly all-rounder flicked it straight to Lasith Malinga at short fine-leg, and the Sri Lankan served with the easiest of catches grassed the chance.
The reprieve was to cost Mumbai dear as Kallis cut loose in the very next over. He bludgeoned left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha through extra-cover in the next over and then danced down the track to dump Ojha over long-on for a massive six. He clubbed the last ball of the over, straight over the mid-wicket fence. The 20 plundered off the Ojha over were supplemented by 25 more off the next two, with Manish Pandey and Kallis taking apart the Mumbai bowling.
The well-timed assault had KKR well on their way towards a total in excess of 150.
On a green wicket, the lanky KKR quick Morne Morkel was always going to be a handful. In the second over, Morkel was continued…