It is often said that morning shows the day. Well, if one goes by that dictum then it can be said that the Kolkata Knight Riders have made a fantastic start to the tournament with a whopping 41 run win over the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the first match of the 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League.
Team composition: Both the teams decided to go in batting heavy and also have 2 frontline spinners considering the slow and low conditions on offer at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Batting: KKR won the toss and elected to bat first. The Kolkata based team accumulated 163 for the loss of 5 wickets after getting off to a slow start in the first half of their innings. Much of this was possible due to the efforts of the indefatigable Jacques Kallis who hit a classy 72 from 46 deliveries. He was ably supported by the young Manish Pandey who got 64 from 53 balls.
The Mumbai Indians never really got off to a decent start and this hampered their chase to a significant extent. Ambati Rayudu tried hard along with skipper Rohit Sharma and Aditya Tare to get going but they ended up short by a long way.
Bowling: Kolkata Knight Riders performed better with the ball compared to MI as well. For Mumbai Indians, Malinga was the best bowler with 4 for 23 and he was well supported by Zaheer Khan, the other wicket taker who was as economical as him.However, the remaining bowlers leaked too many runs and also failed to pick up wickets. This hurt the Mumbai Indians badly.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders were incisive right from the start. Fast bowler Morne Morkel set the tone with a fantastic spell of 1 for 16 and Narine completed the demolition job with 4 for 20 from his allotment. They were ably supported by Shakib Al Hasan (1 for 29) and Piyush Chawla (1 for 15 from 3 overs).
Where do the teams go from here?
Kolkata has got off to a good start and will look to continue with this momentum. One area of concern for them would be the form of Vinay Kumar who lacked his characteristic economy. However, this is just the first game and the team management will have faith in his abilities. So he will receive several opportunities to get his act right. In any case Kolkata Knight Riders have plenty of replacements in the fast bowling department and so they need not worry too much.
For Mumbai this defeat would have come as a major shock. However, there are a few things where they need to attend to so that they can get their campaign underway sooner rather than later. First of all, they need to play someone like Jalaj Saxena so that their spin attack is bolstered and they have an extra wicket taking option and do not have to depend on part timers like Pollard for wickets and overs. Saxena can come in instead of CM Gautam and Tare could be handed over the gloves. The batting order also needs to be rejigged.
Rohit Sharma opens the batting for India in the shorter formats and he should be heading up the order for his franchise as well. Mike Hussey could instead be asked to come down and play the finisher’s role in the middle order. At present with Rohit down the order and Hussey up the order, both the star batsmen are playing roles that they are not really accustomed to and it is for the betterment of the team that the situation need to change.