On Wednesday, Mumbai Indians registered their third victory on the trot to move ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders into fourth position. They beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 102 runs at Eden Gardens in what can termed as one of their most commanding performances this season.
However, it was the performance of Ishan Kishan that powered Mumbai as the 19-year-old smashed a 21-ball 62.
Kolkata had an off day at the office as they did not perform with the bat or ball. This loss will hurt them as the tournament enters its business end.
Here are the talking points from the game.
Ishan shows the way
When 19-year-old Ishan Kishan was picked as Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper-batsmen, there was a lot of intrigue around how the youngster would fit in the scheme of things for the defending champions. While the 19-year-old’s performance behind the stumps has so far been more than satisfactory, it is with the bat that he has faced most scrutiny.
Prior to Wednesday’s game against Kolkata Knight Riders, Kishan had notched up only one half-century, which came against Rajasthan Royals. Other than that knock, he has largely struggled with three ducks highlighting his batting card.
However, at the Eden Gardens, Kishan showed his class with a breakout performance that saw him smash a 21-ball 62. The effort included six towering sixes and five boundaries and helped Mumbai Indians score in the excess of 200 and all but the game beyond the home side.
Kishan came into bat on Wednesday with his side struggling to get the big hits in. With the score at 62/2 after nine overs, Mumbai needed a big push. It was at this point that Kishan took the lead. Such was Kishan’s command that skipper Rohit Sharma took a backseat to see the youngster flourish.
Kishan took on India’s star spinner Kuldeep Yadav and hit him to four consecutive sixes in the 14th over. The first six was over deep square leg followed by a slog at deep mid-wicket for the second. The third was smashed over long on to bring up his 17-ball 50. The fourth six saw Kishan walk across the stumps and use his wrist and bottom hand to send the ball over mid-wicket.
He eventually fell for 62 trying to smash Narine for second consecutive six. But Andre Russell took a stunning catch to dismiss the youngster. However, his knock gave Mumbai the required impetus to set a bigger target. The likes of Hardik Pandya (19 of 13 balls) and Ben Cutting (24 of 9 balls) picked up from where the youngster had left, steering Mumbai to an imposing total.
Karthik’s call to give Chawla the last over
Should spinners bowl in the death? Especially the last over? On Wednesday, KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik decided that his experienced leg-spinner Piyush Chawla was an ideal candidate to bowl the final over against a Mumbai Indians side, which was eyeing a 200+ total.
Most captains around the world would desist from handing the ball to a slow bowler leave alone a leg spinner. A leg spinner usually has to toss the ball up and is traditionally known to leak more runs in exchange for wickets. Ideally, a leg spinner is used as an attacking option.
On Wednesday, it was a role that Chawla played well as he picked up three wickets in his first three overs. Maybe, it was this performance that led Karthik to believe that using Chawla in the final over would prove effective. However, despite all the recent successes of wrist spinners, no coach or expert would have ever advised a captain to use a spinner like Chawla at such a crucial stage of the match. With the likes of Andre Russell and Tom Curran still to finish their quota of overs, it wasn’t like Karthik was lacking options.
As it turns out, Chawla went on to concede 22 runs in the final over including three sixes and a four. Not only did this over help Mumbai Indians notch up an imposing total, but also left the hosts mentally drained with their confidence shattered.
Injury woes for KKR
Heading into the IPL, one of the biggest talking points for KKR was their injury list. They suffered a huge blow in the bowling department with Mitchell Starc ruled out of the tournament. Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Chris Lynn were all doubtful for the marquee event.
As fate would have it, all three turned up fit in time for the start of the league notching up performances that would hand Kolkata a bright start to their campaign, winning three of their first five matches.
However, as the league enters the business end of the tournament, injury worries have once again reared their ugly head leaving KKR having to battle with key players not fully fit.
In the past few weeks, Russell seems to be struggling with a hamstring problem and that has seen him not complete his quota of four overs for a few games now. Even against Mumbai on Wednesday, he bowled only two overs.
19-year-old fast bowler Shivam Mavi has missed two games on the trot for Kolkata due to a back injury. Mavi’s replacement, Prasidh Krishna of Karnataka has turned out to be costly for Kolkata as he has been smashed for 80 runs in two games and has taken only one wicket. Interestingly, Praisdh made the KKR squad only because fast bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti was ruled out of the IPL due to an injury at the start of the tournament.
Even opener Lynn continues to battle shoulder injuries and has said that he isn’t 100% fit. “I am certainly not 100 percent. For me batting is not an issue at all, that’s first and foremost priority. On the field, I am not fielding at the positions that I want to field in,” said Lynn recently.
On Wednesday, Kolkata suffered another blow as Shubman Gill was ruled out of the game due to injury. KKR’s squad has the least depth with only 18 players. Clearly Kolkata have missed a trick, which might cost them a playoff spot in the end.
Lack of spirit
All said and done, on Wednesday, Kolkata Knight Riders were absent from the field. The players were clueless as to what their role was and what had to be done on the pitch. The fielding standard was not up to the mark. To make matters worse, Rohit Sharma was dropped not once but twice.
In the 10th over, Kuldeep Yadav bowled a delivery that held off the pitch forcing Sharma to push it straight. The ball was in the air but it went past Kuldeep’s outstretched hands. It was a difficult catch to take. However, a sitter was put down two overs later when Nitish Rana dropped Sharma off Russell’s over. He put down a straight forward catch at backward point. Sharma then was batting on 11 and went on to make 36 crucial runs for his team. Earlier in the innings, Kuldeep dropped Evin Lewis in fifth over when the batsman was on 16.
With the fielding being dismal, Kolkata were expected to shine with the bat. However, the batsmen did not show any fight in them. Lynn and Karthik were involved in two humiliating run-outs that occurred due to lack of understanding and communication out in the middle.
Apart from that, no other batsman applied themselves. Andre Russell, who is one of the power-hitters in the team, tired to take on Hardik Pandya in fourth delivery of the innings. Instead of playing himself in, the West Indies all-rounder was back in the dressing room as his holed out to Mayank Markande.
“We didn’t bat well enough and who knows what would have happened if we had taken those catches. It was a good batting wicket, we lost wickets in the Powerplay and it’s always tough to catch up,” said Kolkata Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik, which summed up their night.
With net run-rate always playing a role in the end, the KKR batsmen should have thought of batting out the 20 overs instead of throwing away their wickets. In the end they were bowled out with 11 deliveries to spare.