Kolkata Knight Riders dished out a clinical bowling performance to beat Mumbai Indians comprehensively by 32 runs and virtually seal a berth in the four-team play-offs of the Indian Premier League here tonight.
Chasing a modest 141,MI lost wickets at regular intervals after being 60 for one to be shot out for 108 in 19.1 overs,their second lowest total of the season after the paltry 92 made against Delhi Daredevils at this venue.
West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine was unplayable and pushed MI to the brink with a superb haul of four for 15.
Narine was well-supported by Laxmipathy Balaji (2 for 11) and Jacques Kallis (2 for 42),while left arm spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Iqbal Abdulla too did their bit with a wicket each.
MI batsmen made a hash of what appeared to be a gettable score at the Wankhede Stadium and again the dismissal of their icon Sachin Tendulkar for 27 in the 11th over triggered a sharp collapse,which saw the home team lose their last eight wickets for just 48 runs.
The MI batsmen struggled against the varied KKR attack on a wicket that possessed no devil like in the past but provided some appreciable bounce to the spinners.
The victory helped KKR to take the second spot behind table leaders Delhi Daredevils with 19 points,while MI remained third on 18 points ahead of their final game against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur on May 20.
KKR will face Pune Warriors in their final league game at Pune on Saturday.
Earlier,Rudra Pratap Singh bagged two wickets in as many balls in his first over as MI restricted KKR to a modest 140 for seven.
Seeking a victory to seal a play-off berth,MI were on top from the time skipper Harbhajan Singh opted to field after winning the toss as their bowlers,led by R P Singh,kept the rival batsmen on a tight leash.
There was little of note in KKR’s innings,which never kept going after the loss of opener Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis in successive balls to R P Singh.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir made 27 off 23 balls with a six and three fours,while Manoj Tiwary scored an attractive 41 off 43 balls with two sixes and as many fours before both threw away their wickets.
The lower order batsmen tried their bit and managed to add 46 runs in the last five overs,with Yusuf Pathan making an unbeaten 21 in 21 balls with two fours,but the score looked below par on a track that looked good for batting.
For MI,who had lost their previous home game to Royal Challengers Bangalore by a big margin,R P Singh led the bowling honours with figures of two for 33 while Lasith Malinga,Munaf Patel,Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith all picked up a wicket apiece.
MI began the run-chase sedately with Herschelle Gibbs and Tendulkar playing it safe. The latter was a bit fortunate when umpire Billy Doctrove did not uphold a confident shout for a leg before by left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan,who opened the attack with Laxmipathy Balaji.
Tendulkar struck his first four only in the fifth over off Narine and then swept Iqbal Abdulla for a four. But off the last ball of the power play he lost his partner Gibbs,who went for a leg-side heave off Abdulla and was rapped on the pads in front.
Karthik,promoted to number three position in place of Rohit Sharma,looked in fine nick as he pulled and flicked Kallis for successive fours off the first two balls he faced while at the other end Tendulkar glided a short ball from the burly South African all-rounder over third man for a six to raise the team’s 50 in the ninth over West Indian Narine scalped Tendulkar in his second spell by deceiving the master batsman with a gem of a delivery that first went away but spun back sharply to castle the stump.
Balaji soon scalped his Karthik by baiting the batsman with a short ball that he pulled to deep fine leg fielder Yusuf Pathan as MI lost two wickets for six runs in 12 balls.
Rohit Sharma,who had notched a brilliant unbeaten 109 at when the two sides met last Saturday in Kolkata,and Rayudu then tried to push the MI score along.
Rayudu showed his aggressive intent by stepping out and carting Abdulla over the long on region for a six early on. At the end of the 15th over,MI needed 61 more runs from 30 balls.
The mounting asking rate forced Rayudu to step out pre-determinedly against Shakib who bowled wide to have him stumped yards out for nine.
Big-hitting Kieron Pollard hit Shakib for a boundary soon after his arrival.
Sharma hit a glorious off-drive for four off Kallis in the next over before the South African sent back Pollard and Dwayne Smith off successive balls to push MI to the brink.
Pollard feathered a catch behind the stumps off a short ball and off the next ball Smith was trapped leg before with an incoming ball by Kallis to leave the home team at a precarious 96 for six.
Two balls later it was the turn of MI captain Harbhajan Singh to depart,caught in the deep off Narine.
The rest of the batsmen were no match as Narine sent back Rohit Sharma and R P Singh while Balaji accounted for Lasith Malinga to bring a quick end.
Earlier,KKR were rocked on the back foot by R P Singh who packed off McCullum (1) and Kallis (0) off successive balls in his first over,and the innings’ second.
While McCullum got the wrong end of a dubious umpiring decision,Kallis had his off stump uprooted by a peach of a delivery from R P Singh.
R P Singh was denied a hat-trick by Manoj Tiwary,but the scoring rate fell down because of these two quick wickets.
Gambhir,who began with a superb straight drive off the first ball of the match from Munaf Patel,was a bit fortunate not to have been dismissed on nine as he was dropped by Sachin Tendulkar at third man fence off R P Singh.
MI struck another major blow soon after the end of the strategic time-out when Pollard packed off Gambhir with a ball that held its line and took the top of his off stump.
Gambhir’s stand of 38 in 42 balls for the third wicket with Tiwary helped the visitors steady their ship.
Tiwary was,however,lucky when umpire Billy Doctrove did not uphold a confident caught behind appeal by Dinesh Karthik off Pollard.
At the half-way stage of their allotted overs,the visitors had moved up to 54 for three.
The 12th over,third by Harbhajan Singh,proved fruitful for KKR when it yielded 14 runs with Tiwary cutting the off-spinner for a four and then lofting him for a six.
The Bengal batsman then stepped out to smack Malinga for a huge six over the sight screen in the next over.
At the other end,Shakib-al Hasan played a poor shot and got bowled trying to pull Dwayne Smith to an end the productive 29-ball 45-run fourth wicket partnership with Tiwary.
Tiwary too fell immediately afterwards,caught at long off by Malinga off Munaf’s last over as KKR slumped to 91 for five. The foolish run out of Debabrata Das in the next over made life more difficult for the visitors.
Pathan led a charmed life. He top-edged and got a four,was caught off a no-ball and added 29 runs in 16 balls for the seventh wicket with Rajat Bhatia (12) that improved the score.