(ESPNCRICINFO) – After the Mumbai Indians’ (MI) attack fired in unison to keep Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to 148 for 5, they sauntered to the target with eight wickets and 19 balls to spare in Abu Dhabi to seal their fifth successive victory.
The result set up a two-way tie at the top of the IPL leaderboard with the Delhi Capitals (DC).
Trent Boult found swing with the new ball. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar took down both Shubman Gill and Dinesh Karthik off successive balls, and Jasprit Bumrah aced his match-up against Andre Russell, reducing KKR to 61 for 5.
However, Pat Cummins counter-punched his way to his first T20 half-century and even outscored KKR’s new captain Eoin Morgan in an unbroken 87-run partnership off 56 balls.
The late charge gave KKR something to bowl at, but the target looked a whole lot smaller once Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock rattled off 51 in the powerplay.
KKR dig themselves into a hole
In contrast, KKR scrounged 33 for 2 in their powerplay. Suryakumar Yadav at backward point pulled off an excellent diving catch to remove Rahul Tripathi for 7 off 9 balls.
A fit-again Nathan Coulter-Nile, who had replaced fellow Australian James Pattinson, then had Nitish Rana glove a lifter behind for 5 off 6 balls.
Gill gulped down ten dots out of the 23 deliveries he faced and holed out for 21, trying to clear long-on. In the same over, Karthik dragged a sweep back onto his stumps for 4 off 8 balls. When Bumrah bounced out Russell for 12, KKR were five down in the 11th over.
Cummins pulls them out
Morgan, too, started slowly, and was on 23 off 25 balls at the start of the final over of the innings. Cummins then crunched Coulter-Nile for four to raise a 35-ball fifty. He sized up Coulter-Nile’s on-pace and slower length balls, carting him for 20 off seven balls.
Cummins’ knock could have been cut short at 36 had de Kock not dropped a skier off Bumrah near the short third-man region.
Cummins regularly jumped across off to target the shorter leg-side boundaries whenever Coulter-Nile and Boult missed their lengths. Morgan, too, helped himself to two sixes off Coulter-Nile in the last over to haul the KKR closer to 150.
The Rohit-de Kock show
Off-spinner Chris Green, who was picked in place of Tom Banton, took the new ball and found swing with his arm-balls, but his first delivery was too short and wide, with Sharma nonchalantly putting it away for four. It was a portent of what was to follow in the chase.
Sharma then went after seamer Prasidh Krishna, taking him for back-to-back fours in the third over. Morgan then matched up Green with de Kock, and the spinner drew a top edge, but Varun Chakravarthy missed a tough catch running back from short fine leg.
de Kock was reprieved on 20. He zoomed to a 25-ball fifty – his third in his last four innings – to punish the KKR.
Sharma was dismissed for 35 and Suryakumar for 10, but Hardik Pandya (21*) helped apply the finishing touches with three fours and a six.