KOLKATA, India: Kolkata Knight Riders snapped their six-match losing streak last night with a 34-run win over Mumbai Indians in a high-scoring Indian Premier League game that saw brutal stroke play from power-hitters of both teams.
Kolkata batsmen fired on all cylinders to post the season’s highest total, 232 for two, after sensational knocks from Shubman Gill (76 off 45) and Andre Russell (80 not out off 40).
At 58 for four, Mumbai were down and out but Hardik Pandya reignited their hopes with a breathtaking 91 off 34 balls. In the end, Pandya’s dismissal in the 18th over sealed the game in KKR’s favour as Mumbai ended at 198 for seven. The Indian all-rounder’s cracking innings comprised nine sixes and six fours.
The much-needed win keeps KKR alive in the tournament as they now have 10 points from 12 matches. Mumbai remains in the third spot with 14 points from 12 games.
Staring at elimination, the embattled KKR got off to a fiery start with Gill and Chris Lynn (54) putting on a 96-run opening stand, their highest this season, after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl in his 100th match as captain.
Russell, KKR’s biggest impact player of the season, was finally seen higher up the order at No. 3. The West Indies power-hitter ensured that KKR finished on a high with an unbeaten effort.
Russell hammered six fours and eight sixes including one off the last ball after he denied a couple of singles to skipper Dinesh Karthik in the last over as KKR creamed 75 runs from the last five overs and scored 135 in the final 10.
Fielding let down Mumbai Indians big time with both Lynn and Russell dropped early in their innings by Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis respectively.
The top-order batting was all about the sheer class of the 19-year-old Gill, who showed why he is billed as the future star of Indian cricket.
In the earlier match, Delhi Capitals moved to the top of the points tally and all but sealed their place in the playoffs registering a comprehensive 16-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Chasing’s 187 for five, RCB managed 171 for seven as the Delhi boys recorded their eighth win to take their tally to 16 points from 12 games.
RCB are all but out of the tournament after suffering their eighth defeat of the season.