Cape Town - Gautam Gambhir has struck a half-century to lead the Kolkata Knight Riders to a seven-wicket win over the Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The supersport.com website reports that Mumbai, after being asked to bat, posted 168 for three thanks to a silky 98 not out off just 65 balls with 12 fours and four sixes from Rohit Sharma.
But Kolkata made a successful start to their title defence as they reached 170 for three off 18.3 overs with opening batsman Gambhir scoring 57 off 43 deliveries with seven fours and a six.
Kolkata suffered an early blow with the loss of Robin Uthappa (9) but Gambhir and Manish Pandey steadied the innings with a second-wicket stand of 85 off 9.1 overs.
Pandey struck an attractive 40 off just 24 balls with two fours and three sixes but he was undone by offspinner Harbhajan Singh and was caught at mid-wicket to leave Kolkata on 98 for two after 12 overs.
Gambhir, initially, made a circumspect start to his innings scoring just nine off his first 16 balls. But he brought up his fifty off 39 deliveries.
The left-handed Gambhir eventually fell when he was caught at deep square leg off the bowling of seamer Jasprit Bumrah.
Gambhir’s dismissal left Kolkata needing 48 runs to win off 34 balls but paceman Lasith Malinga bowled a superb 16th over, conceding just two runs, to leave the hosts needing 38 runs off 24 deliveries.
But Mumbai’s hopes of pulling off a win were dashed by an aggressive knock from Suryakumar Yadav who bashed his way to 46 not out just 20 balls with a four and five sixes.
Rohit had earlier provided the bulk of Mumbai’s runs as he just missed out on a century after the visitors had been reduced to 37 for three after a superb opening burst from fast bowler Morne Morkel who ended with figures of 4-1-18-2.
Rohit and Corey Anderson shared in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 131 off a mere 89 deliveries.
Mumbai skipper Rohit played well all around the wicket and he brought up his fifty off 46 balls while he went on the charge during the 15th over when he slammed three fours and a six off the bowling of paceman Umesh Yadav with the unfortunate bowler eventually conceding 21 runs off the over.
The powerful Anderson was content to play second fiddle to Rohit and he enjoyed a fair amount of luck when he was dropped twice, with his score on 23 and 46, but he brought up his fifty off the last ball of the innings with the third six of his innings, to go with four fours, as he ended on 55 not out off 41 balls.
Opening bowler Morkel struck in his first over when he had Aaron Finch (5) caught at long leg off a top edge before Aditya Tare (7) lofted a delivery from left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan to Umesh Yadav at mid-off to leave Mumbai on 37 for two after five overs.
The visitors found themselves in further trouble in the next over when Ambati Rayudu (0) edged a delivery from Morkel, which left the right-handed batsman off the pitch, through to Yusuf Pathan at first slip.
Morkel bowled with impressive pace and managed to extract some steep bounce out of the Eden Gardens pitch.
Kolkata Knight Riders: G Gambhir (captain), RV Uthappa (wicketkeeper), MK Pandey, SA Yadav, YK Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, AD Russell, PP Chawla, SP Narine, UT Yadav, M Morkel
Mumbai Indians: RG Sharma (captain), AJ Finch, AT Rayudu, AP Tare (wicketkeeper), CJ Anderson, KA Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, SL Malinga, R Vinay Kumar, JJ Bumrah, PP Ojha