Robin Uthappa was elegance personified during his 52-ball 80 as he powered Kolkata Knight Riders to a convincing six-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League match on Wednesday.
Uthappa struck nine fours and three sixes after a disciplined KKR attack restricted Mumbai Indians to 141 for five on a pitch that was not the best for batting. Battling woeful form, Yusuf Pathan remained unbeaten on 20 and hit the winning boundary.
The Knight Riders were off to a brisk start, especially with Uthappa looking in good nick, and he hit a flurry of boundaries to take his side past the 50-run mark in the seventh over.
But just after Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir (14) recorded their fourth consecutive half-century partnership, the KKR skipper inside-edged a Harbhajan Singh onto his stumps.
Thanks to the enterprise displayed by Uthappa – who lofted Pragyan Ojha over long on for a six besides finding the fence three times on either side of the fifth over – the Knight Riders were very much in the game.
Ojha was cut behind point before Uthappa swept Harbhajan for another four.
KKR were 68 for one midway into their innings and needed 74 runs from 60 balls, the number of wickets remaining giving the eastern side a clear edge.
An outside edge fetched Uthappa a four before the batsman brought up yet another half-century with a single to deep cover.
Manish Pandey played the second fiddle as Uthappa sliced Jasprit Bumrah’s low full toss past point for another boundary.
Coming into this match with two fifties and three 40-plus knocks, Uthappa never looked in trouble and went about the task in a very calculated manner.
Harbhajan’s dismissal of Pandey through another inside-edge did not bother Uthappa at all as the batsman effortlessly lofted Simmons for two sixes to bring the equation well under control after KKR needed 42 in the last five overs.
However, Uthappa could not finish the game for KKR with Simons knocking over his middle stump, bringing to an end an elegant knock.
Pace spearhead Lasith Malinga did get the wicket of Shakib Al Hasan but that was too little for MI to stage a fightback.