IPL 2018, KKR VS MI: MUMBAI INDIANS KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE AFTER THUMPING KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS BY 102 RUNS

In Rohit Sharma’s garden, Ishan Kishan dazzled. The irreverence of youth gave a bloody nose to reputation. Kuldeep Yadav was the biggest sufferer.

Kishan’s batting was like a highlights package. But the 14th over during the Mumbai Indians innings deserves special mention. That was when the balance tilted towards the visitors, thanks to Kishan’s super-charge.

Over the past 11-odd months since his debut in limited-overs internationals in June last year, Yadav has taken 51 wickets in 28 matches for India in ODIs and T20 Internationals combined. He has become an integral part of India’s white-ball cricket set-up, almost undroppable in crucial fixtures. Kishan just toyed with the chinaman bowler.

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The carnage began after Rohit Sharma took a single off Yadav. The MI skipper was a bit off colour in his ‘backyard’ on Wednesday but we would come to that later. Kishan’s first six off Yadav was brilliantly improvised. His trigger movement was a forward thrust, which the bowler picked and fired the delivery into the body. Kishan went down on his knee and slog-swept it over deep backward square.

Yadav’s response was a wide googly, but Kishan had read the spinner’s mind and adjusted accordingly. He shuffled across, picked it from outside off and clobbered it over deep mid-wicket for another maximum. The 19-year-old stepped out next ball, converted a good length delivery into a half-volley and dispatched it several rows back over long-on. A 17-ball half-century lit up the Eden and his captain walked up from the other end to give the youngster a bear hug. A turnout of over 55,000 fans stood up for the marauder. But Kishan wasn’t finished yet.

He walked across the stumps and whipped the last ball of Yadav’s over beyond the deep mid-wicket fence. In just four deliveries, Kishan took the wind out of Kolkata Knight Riders’ sails.

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The 14th over wasn’t a case in isolation though. Kishan arrived at the crease when MI were 62/2 after nine overs. A gear shift was due. The new batsman took up the cudgels. His first six was against Yadav as well. Piyush Chawla, who had accounted for the first two MI wickets, was swept and pulled for a couple of fours. Andre Russell was smoked inside-out past sweeper cover. Prasidh Krishna’s slower ball had been slapped to the fine leg boundary with contempt.

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik had to bring on Sunil Narine and the change worked. Kishan eventually holed out to Robin Uthappa at deep backward square, trying to hit his seventh six. The sixth over-boundary came a ball previously, courtesy a slog sweep over deep mid-wicket. Kishan hung his head after getting out, but the whole stadium, even some KKR fielders, was applauding. His knock rolled over the hosts. In fact, the Jharkhand boy’s sensational hitting would have made the most famous cricketer from his state proud. “I just wanted to look at the ball and keep smacking it,” Kishan said after the match.

An 82-run third wicket partnership between Kishan and Rohit in 34 balls proved to be the game-changer. The young man’s contribution to the association was 62 off 21 deliveries, including five fours and six sixes.

As for Rohit, he laboured to 36 off 31 balls, riding his luck. A leading edge narrowly eluded Yadav when the MI captain was on eight. Two runs hence, Nitish Rana dropped a sitter at backward point off Russell. In the final analysis, Rohit’s indifferent form didn’t matter, because Kishan made everything else peripheral. Ben Cutting’s nine-ball 24 put the finishing touches, as MI finished at 210/6. It secured their eighth win on the spin against KKR, the second in three days.

An umpiring howler
Umpiring continues to throw up surprises in this IPL. Tom Curran, in for Mitchell Johnson, was at the receiving of the latest howler. The fifth ball of the fast bowler’s second over, the innings’ 16th, was called a no-ball by umpire K Ananthapadmanabhan. TV replays, if the correct footage was presented, showed Curran’s heel had landed at least six inches inside the front crease. Curran instinctively asked for a review, forgetting that the DRS has certain limitations. Karthik took his protest to the umpire but decided not to go too far with it. KKR got on with the game, ignoring an error that bordered on the comical.

KKR’s batting surrender
Intimidated by Kishan’s hitting and a very imposing total, KKR’s batting surrendered. They folded for 108 in 18.1 overs to lose the match by 102 runs. Two run-outs – Chris Lynn and Karthik – encapsulated their lack of gumption. MI didn’t mind. They moved into the top four for the first time in the season, thriving on the biggest victory margin of this IPL.