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IPL 9: Rohit Sharma rocks on, KKR roll over

MI skipper’s romance with Eden Gardens continues with a classy 84 to crush KKR by six wickets

Kolkata: Mumbai Indians, humbled at home in the IPL-9 opener on Saturday, bounced back to tame a Kolkata Knight Riders in their backyard.

MI skipper Rohit Sharma en route his 54-ball 84 against KKR during an IPL match at Eden Gardens yesterday. Pics/AFP
MI skipper Rohit Sharma en route his 54-ball 84 against KKR during an IPL match at Eden Gardens yesterday. Pics/AFP

Chasing 188, skipper Rohit Sharma hung around to see the visitors over the line even as Jos Buttler’s power-hitting ensured they got there with six wickets and five balls to spare.

Buttler came away with a 22-ball 41 that had three boundaries and three sixes. After the Englishman fell in the 19th over, Rohit was still around to lend the finishing touches.


KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir celebrates his half-century against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday

His unbeaten 84 came off 54 balls and had 10 boundaries and a couple of sixes.

The Knights, having drubbed Delhi Daredevils on Sunday, leave for their six-match away phase on the wrong note.

Sent into bat, KKR rode a 100-run partnership for the second wicket between skipper Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey.

Pandey fires
Pandey scored 52 in 29 deliveries with three boundaries and three sixes. Gambhir, dropped on 30 by skipper Rohit and on 55 by Bumrah off his own bowling, was finally caught off behind off a looping shot for a 52-ball 64 that had four fours and a six. Andre Russell chipped in with a 36 off 17 that had four sixes.

Rohit, at his happy hunting ground, wore an ominous calm as he paced his innings well, happy to play the second fiddle to some of his more aggressive teammates. He flicked Russell off the pads for a six in the first over to launch the chase and then watched Parthiv Patel, one of the three replacements in the line-up, become the aggresssor.

Taking that extra risk to play over the infield, Patel made the most of the power-play but Rohit was not too far behind, two flowing fours off John Hastings in the fifth over underlying the threat he always is.

The two added 53 in 35 deliveries before the partnerships was broken when Patel failed to regain crease after setting off for a non-existent single.

Rohit was joined by his India teammate Hardik Pandya and the two kept Mitchell McClenaghan used the long handle to good effect as he hit 20 off eight deliveries with the help of three sixes to ensure that Mumbai Indians stayed in the chase. McClenaghan’s fall saw Buttler joining Rohit.

MI make three changes
Mumbai made three changes, Tim Southee replacing Lendl Simmons on the foreigners' front while Patel and Jagadeesha Suchith came in for Gopal and Vinay Kumar.

Southee went for 43 runs in his four overs, unable to mix things up on a wicket where predictability met punishment at most times. The New Zealander could take a leaf out of compatriot McClenaghan’s book.

Shaken & stirred

Tremors of an earthquake with it’s epicentre in Myanmar were felt at the Eden Gardens even as KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma, his Mumbai Indians counterpart, went out to toss before their IPL faceoff on Wednesday. While most stayed on the terraces, a large number rushed out onto the roads around the stadium. With the ‘hanging’ press box swaying, most media persons went down. The match started on time with everyone nicely shaken and stirred. Earthquakes have become rather frequent in this part of the world in recent years.
— Arup Chatterjee

Brief scores
Kolkata Knight Riders 187-5 (Gautam Gambhir 64, Manish Pandey 52, Andre Russell 36; Mitchell McClenaghan 2-25) loss to Mumbai Indians 188-4 in 19.1 overs (Rohit Sharma 84 n o, Jos Buttler 41) by six wickets

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