The match that took place at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Orissa on May 14, 2014 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians was important for both the teams. For Kolkata Knight Riders it was an opportunity to cement their place in the top half of the leader board and for Mumbai Indians the match represented an opportunity to topple over a side against whom they have an enviable record and climb out of the mire, where they find themselves this season.
Team composition: Kolkata made one change to the team that won against Punjab at the same venue a few days back. They brought in Shakib al Hasan instead of Jacques Kallis. Mumbai went in with the same team that had won against Hyderabad.
Batting: The Knight Riders won the toss and opted to field first, which was not surprising given how successful they have been in chasing in their last couple of games. The Indians were able to reach a competitive total of 141 for 5 thanks to skipper Rohit Sharma who top scored with 51 from 45 balls. Ambati Rayudu (33 from 27 balls) also played an important knock to somehow ensure that the team did not feel the pinch of the failure of the other batsmen to do anything significant.
Robin Uthappa anchored Knight Riders’ chase really well with a magnificent 80 from 52 balls. In the end Yusuf Pathan (20 not out from 13 balls) made sure that the Kolkata team did not lose a close game yet again.
Bowling: Morne Morkel (2 for 35) may have been the highest wicket taker for KKR but it was really Sunil Narine (1 for 18) and Shakib (1 for 21) who put the brakes on MI’s strong batting lineup. Piyush Chawla (1 for 32) picked up a wicket but conceded a lot of runs as did Umesh Yadav who went for 24 in 3 overs.
Harbhajan Singh was yet again the main bowler for MI with 2 for 22. Lasith Malinga (1 for 30 in 3.4 overs) and Lendl Simmons (1 for 34 in 3 overs) took wickets but were unable to keep the runs down. Pragyan Ojha was economical (25 runs in 4 overs) but could not pick up a wicket as did Jasprit Bumrah who gave away 23 from 3 overs.
Where do the teams go from here?
Kolkata Knight Riders would be happy with the recent spate of wins but they should keep in mind that so far they have mainly been successful by batting second. However, given that their batsmen are in good form and spin is the main strength of their bowling one feels that they would not be too disturbed if they were asked to bat first.
It is often said that in life you reap as you sow. Honestly speaking, Mumbai Indians did not perform to their best during the auctions and packed their team with batsmen and bowlers. The lack of allrounders, with good statistics in first class cricket, is clearly evident in the way that batsmen like Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons are being asked to bowl. Perhaps this IPL is over for them, which is unfortunate given how well they performed last year with a significantly better balanced side – they had players such as Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Rishi Dhawan who have been performing well for Kings XI Punjab this year. However, one feels that they would have learnt their lessons and will implement them come 2015.