It was an uncharacteristic pitch at the Eden Gardens for the match number 5 of the IPL 2016. But that did not change the history by much. Eden Gardens has been a happy hunting ground for Rohit Sharma where he scored his ODI career best of record breaking 264 runs and also an IPL century against the hosts. Eden Gardens is also host to a stranger fact;
KKR rarely loses at this venue and when Mumbai Indians play here, they have beaten KKR in 11 out of 16 previous IPL matches. The day played to the script perfectly.
For a change, the pitch at Eden was not a slow turner and had some grass on it, helping the fast bowlers earlier in the innings. Rohit Sharma won the toss and put KKR in to bat, believing that the pitch will remain true and chasing will be easier if the dew comes down in the second innings. Gautam Gambhir was determined to change that and KKR started cautiously. Losing Robin Uthappa in the 4th over with just 21 on the board looked like a big blow until Manish Pandey came in and started smacking the ball all around the ground. Gambhir played the perfect foil for Manish Pandey and then Andre Russel by rotating the strike regularly and setting a perfect platform for them to launch. Pandey scored a 29 ball 52 while Russel blasted away to 36 off just 17 balls. KKR looked well on course to post 200 plus runs on the board before Mumbai pulled things back the later stages of the innings.
Bumrah and McClenaghan gave away just 21 runs in the last 3 overs, restricting KKR to a still formidable 187 for 5. Gambhir top scored with a sensible innings of 64 off 52 balls.
Eden Garden rarely sees scores of 150 plus being chased down but things are different when Rohit Sharma is in full flow.MI openers, Rohit and Parthiv Patel started well to put up an half century stand at more than 9 runs per over. Patel was run out by the ever so young Brad Hogg for 23 off 20 balls. The move to send Hardik Pandya at number 3 misfired in this game as well as walked back after scoring 9 off 10 balls. But then onward, every moment was Mumbai’s. Fast Bowler McClenaghan was promoted to number 4 ahead of the likes of Butler, Pollard, Rayudu and even Harbhajan. But it was Mumbai’s night and how. McClenaghan smacked 3 sixes in quick succession to bring the asking rate down to manageable proportions. He made a 8 ball 20 before holding out at extra cover. Next batsman in was Jos Butler and he put an end to all doubts about Mumbai’s win in style. He scored a stroke filled 41 off just 22 balls with 3 sixes. Rohit was unbeaten there at the end to finish off a brilliant chase with Pollard scoring the winning single off the first ball of the 20th over, giving Mumbai Indians their first win of the season. The side looks more dangerous after this match and will be the team to beat.
KKR needs to shrug it off as a bad day and bounce back again, as they do quite regularly.