The opening match of the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League saw reigning champions Kolkata Knight Riders triumph against Mumbai Indians. Kolkata won the match by seven wickets thanks to a fiery spell by Morne Morkel earlier in the innings and a combined effort by the batsmen, who chased down a competitive target of 169 in 18.3 overs.
Slow start for Mumbai
Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and decided to field first. Rohit Sharma and Aaron Finch opened the innings for Mumbai and made a cautious start in the first over. Kolkata however drew first blood in the second over when Morne Morkel picked up the wicket of Finch. The Australian opener misjudged a waist-high bouncer and sliced it high in the air, straight to Umesh Yadav at fine leg.
Shakib Al Hasan came into the bowling attack in the fifth over and sent Aditya Tare back into the pavilion with the last ball of his first over. Morne Morkel struck once again as he produced a sharp edge off Ambati Rayudu’s blade and the ball was pouched at first slip. With Mumbai struggling at 37/3 after the mandatory powerplay, Corey Anderson walked into the middle. He along with Rohit Sharma built a strong partnership and steered the team into a solid position.
A captain’s innings by Rohit Sharma
Rohit and Anderson piled up 131 runs for the fourth wicket and remained unbeaten throughout the innings. Anderson scored 55 (41) while Rohit Sharma just missed out on another century at the Eden Gardens. He amassed 98 from 65 balls.
As far as the bowling department was concerned, Morne Morkel impressed with his economical spell of 4-1-18-2. Kolkata however would not be happy with the number of catches that were dropped during the innings.
Curse of the second over
Kolkata opened their innings with Robin Uthappa and Captain Gautam Gambhir. Just like the Mumbai innings, both men started slowly but there was a wicket in the second over yet again when Uthappa was dismissed for nine by Corey Anderson.
Manish Pandey came in next for Kolkata and he succeeded in taking the attack to the opposition. Pandey kept his strike rate well above 100 even as Gambhir complemented him well initially only to open up later. After the tenth over; Kolkata Knight Riders were comfortably placed at 85 for one.
Lifelines for Mumbai
Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh tried desperately to break the partnership but failed to do the same until Harbhajan got the wicket of Pandey 40(26). He was caught by Pollard in the last ball of eleventh over and Suryakumar Yadav was the next batsman for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Mumbai were on a mission to apply some pressure on the new batsman but Yadav showed great composure. On the other end, Gambhir swiftly moved to his fifty in just thirty nine balls. Just when it looked like the Kolkata skipper would bat through the innings, he was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah. The score board stood at 121/3 after Gambhir’s wicket and in strode Yusuf Pathan at no. 5.
Suryakumar Yadav guides KKR home
Unaffected by his captain’s dismissal, Yadav continued to hit sixes at will and moved his team closer to a win. Pathan soon joined in the party with some boundaries. Yadav closed off the match with a boundary off Vinay Kumar and extended the Knight riders’ winning streak to 10 matches.
Morne Morkel was awarded the Man of the Match award for his impressive bowling performance.
Summary: IPL 2015 Match 1:
Kolkata Knight Riders won by 7 wickets.
Mumbai Indians: 168 -3 (20 Overs)
Rohit Sharma: 98* (65), Corey Anderson: 55* (41)
Morne Morkel: 2-18
Kolkata Knight Riders:170 -3 (18.3)
Gautam Gambhir: 57 (43), Suryakumar Yadav 46*(20): Manish Pandey: 40(24)
Corey Anderson: 1-21