IPL 6: Mumbai Indians thrash KKR to remain unconquered at home

Mumbai Indians kept their enviable all-win record at home intact as they outclassed Kolkata Knight Riders by 65 runs at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday to virtually eliminate the defending champions' hopes of making the Indian Premier League play-offs.

Mumbai rode on their best opening stand of the season - 93 runs -- provided by Sachin Tendulkar (48) and Dwayne Smith (47) and a quick-fire unbeaten 34 by Dinesh Karthik to rattle up 170 for six at the Wankhede Stadium.

The hosts then bowled out the visitors for 105 in 18.2 overs to emerge convincing winners and shoot to the second position on the league table with 16 points behind leaders Chennai Super Kings (18), whom they had beaten comprehensively on Sunday.

Mumbai Indians celebrate
Mumbai Indians celebrate the fall of a KKR wicket. Pic/Suresh K.K

Only Manvinder Bisla (17) and Jacques Kallis (24) got the starts for the Knight Riders without flourishing fully among the top five batsmen after the dismissal of captain Gautam Gambhir for a duck.

Spinners Harbhajan Singh (3) and Pragyan Ojha (2) were the main wicket takers along with Mitchell Johnson (2) and Lasith Malinga (2) while Abu Nechim Ahmed too got a wicket.

It was Mumbai's sixth straight home win of the season and 8th overall.

The comprehensive defeat, their tenth in 12 games against Mumbai in the tournament's history, was also the Kinght Riders' 8th loss of the season and they are virtually out of contention for a berth in the four-team play-offs.

Knight Riders began the stiff run-chase disastrously when they lost their captain Gautam Gambhir for a second-ball duck in the first over from Mitchell Johnson.

Bisla and Kallis took the score to 38 at the end of the sixth over of power play, but then the former dropped on 0 was stumped while trying to give a charge to left-arm spinner Ojha who also removed Yusuf Pathan cheaply.

And when Kallis was out to Harbhajan for 24, it left the Knight Riders in a very difficult position at 58 for 4 just at the half way stage of their innings.

In-form batsman Eoin Morgan also fell cheaply in the 13th over to virtually end their hopes.

Harbhajan later dismissed Debabrata Das and Rajat Bhatia to finish with fine figures of 3 for 27.

Manvinsder Bisla

Manvinder Bisla stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Praghyan Ojha's bowling at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. PIC/ SURESH K.K

Earlier, Mumbai Indians got off to their best start this season but then lost their way before finishing with a flourish to post a challenging 170 for six.

Sachin Tendulkar used the field restrictions in the initial overs to hit eight fours in an attractive innings of 48 off 28 balls, while Dwayne Smith made 47 off 52 before both departed in close succession after putting on 93 for the first wicket after Mumbai opted to bat first.

Thereafter only Dinesh Karthik, who made an unbeaten 34 in 18 balls with 2 sixes and 3 fours, prospered while Mumbai lost wickets at regular intervals before adding 26 runs in the last nine balls through Karthik and Mitchell Johnson (10 not out).

Ryan Mclaren picked up two wickets in one over but was smashed around for 60 runs while the Knight Riders' best bowler Laxmipathi Balaji was not given his full quota in a strange decision by Gambhir.

Tendulkar struck McLaren for five fours in the 4th over which included drives to the off and two successive pull shots, after he had spanked the same bowler for successive straight-driven boundaries in his first over. But Smith struggled to put bat to the ball against Balaji who started off with a maiden over to the West Indian in an excellent first spell of 3 overs for 7 runs.

Thanks to Tendulkar, who looked in good touch, the Mumbai score reached 41 at the end of the first 6 power play overs and 50 after the 7th.

But once the field spread out Smith used his extra power to execute boundaries.

The floodlights in one tower failed after the 9th over and the players had to leave the field till the problem was sorted out after 18 minutes.

At the halfway stage, Mumbai were 69 without loss, Smith having gone ahead of Tendulkar.

Tendulkar once again raced ahead of his partner with a couple of boundary in successive overs as the opening wicket stand raised by the two became the highest of the season, bettering the previous best of 54 between the two against Pune Warriors here on April 13.

The stand was nipped by Rajat Bhatia coming on for Jacques Kallis who deceived and clean bowled Tendulkar with a slower ball when he was well posed to score his first half century of the tournament. The batsman tried to paddle sweep and missed.

In the next over, Smith too departed caught at long on off Abdulla at 99 to bring together Mumbai's most consistent batsmen of the season Dinesh Karthik and skipper Rohit Sharma.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar hit an aggressive 48 runs off just 28 balls. Pic/Suresh K.K

It was left to the two batsmen to propel the innings and Sharma began the acceleration by cutting Bhatia for a four and then lofting him into the stands over long on for his first six in the 16th over that yielded 13 runs.

The next over by Sunil Narine yielded 11 runs after Karthik swung the bowler over the midwicket rope for a six.

But the hosts lost four wickets in quick succession for the addition of only 14 runs in the end phase.

Sharma departed in the next over from McLaren to a brilliantly juggled catch in the deep by Eoin Morgan who knew he will overbalance and go over the rope and threw the ball up, went over and then came back into the field to complete a fine catch.

Kieron Pollard fell in the same over after facing four balls during which he hit a four and was then caught trying to repeat the pull shot.

Mumbai then lost the wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh in the space of four balls through splendid fielding by Balaji and Yusuf Pathan. Both were out without facing a ball.

From 144 for six, Karthik and Johnson added quick runs to enable Mumbai to finish with a healthy score.

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