The Mumbai Indians stormed their way to the VIVO IPL 2017 Final after they defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets in Qualifier 2 on Friday night. After opting to bowl, the MI bowlers destroyed their opponents, bundling them out for 107, after which their batsmen chased down the runs in 14.3 overs. Karn Sharma was the destroyer-in-chief for MI, while Krunal Pandya’s performance stood out in the run-chase.
MI reaped the rewards for being aggressive at the start of the match. Mitchell Johnson, playing in place of the injured Mitchell McClenaghan, bowled a fiery first over and conceded only three runs. Jasprit Bumrah benefitted from the pressure built at the other end as Chris Lynn holed out to long-on in the second over. The other opener – Sunil Narine, and Gautam Gambhir struggled to get the ball of the square in the face of extremely disciplined bowling from MI. KKR were 22/1 after 4 overs.
In the fifth over, Narine attempted to break the shackles and charged out, not picking the googly, only to be stumped. Robin Uthappa was trapped leg before by Bumrah in the sixth over, while Gambhir was beaten in flight by Karn Sharma and picked out the man at midwicket. The very next delivery Colin de Grandhomme was dismissed for a first-ball duck – rapped on the pad after not picking a googly. Only seven overs had been bowled, and half the KKR line-up was back in the dressing room. KKR 31/5.
Ishan Jaggi and Suryakumar Yadav applied well and gave the innings some respectability with a 56-run partnership. Both batsmen were understandably cautious early on and sailed through a difficult period of play; runs were at a premium – coming primarily in ones and twos. In the eleventh over, Yadav swept the left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya for a six, while Jaggi collected an extra-cover boundary off Johnson in the following over. Pandya was at the receiving end yet again as Yadav hit him for consecutive boundaries – one from a sweep shot and one through extra-cover.
The sixth wicket partnership was broken in the fifteenth over when Jaggi (28 from 31 balls) picked the fielder at long-on. KKR then slipped, losing four wickets in quick time – including that of a well-set Yadav for 31 (25 balls, 2 fours, 1 six); they did not even bat out their twenty overs and were bundled out for 107.
On the bowling front, Karn Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah were sensational and did the bulk of the damage; while the leg-spinner Karn returned figures of 4-16, Bumrah – playing his 100th T20 match – returned career-best figures of 3/7 (which included the scalps of Lynn, Uthappa and Yadav). Johnson (2/28) and Lasith Malinga (1/24) chipped in with wickets in the latter part of the innings.
MI had a rough start to their chase; Lendl Simmons didn’t pick a googly from Piyush Chawla and played down the wrong line to be dismissed LBW, while Parthiv Patel edged a wide delivery to the wicketkeeper in the third over. MI were reduced to 34/3 when Ambati Rayudu too played down the wrong line and lost his off peg to Chawla.
But skipper Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya settled the nerves with a 54-run partnership that took MI to the brink; the latter was the more aggressive batsman, contributing 34 runs in the fourth wicket stand. Rohit (26) hit two pleasing strokes in his 24-ball outing – one a cover drive and a six over long-on – before pulled a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery to the man at square-leg.
Krunal stayed on and completed the job; he hit eight boundaries in his 28-ball 45 and duly scored the winning runs. As a result of this convincing win, MI progress to the tournament Final where they will meet Rising Pune Supergiant; the title clash will be played in Hyderabad on Sunday, May 21.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 107 in 18.5 Overs (Suryakumar Yadav 31, Ishank Jaggi 28, Karn Sharma 4-16, Jasprit Bumrah 3-7, Mitchell Johnson 2-28) lost to Mumbai Indians: 111-4 in 14.3 Overs (Krunal Pandya 45*, Rohit Sharma 26, Piyush Chawla 2-34) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match: Karn Sharma