Rohit, Buttler brush aside 188 target

Mumbai Indians 188 for 4 (Rohit 84*, Buttler 41) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 187 for 5 (Gambhir 64, Manish 52) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell McClenaghan’s promotion to No. 4 spelled the end for Kolkata Knight Riders © BCCI

It was entirely bewildering. Mitchell McClenaghan walked out at No. 4 for Mumbai Indians. It isn’t like the side is short of hitters. They spent INR 3.8 crores acquiring a new one for this year but Jos Buttler caught fire only after the spark provided by McClenaghan’s eight-ball 20. The events between the 11th and the 15th over of the chase decided the winner of the match – Mumbai, by six wickets.

McClenaghan’s responsibility – under normal circumstances – was to slip into Lasith Malinga’s shoes. Be the wicket-taker at the start and the enforcer at the end. Today, he was asked to disrupt the Kolkata Knight Riders’ rhythm. And he was given the freedom to do so. Every single shot played by the New Zealand fast bowler was a slog. His second, third and fourth balls cleared the Eden Gardens. The eighth – a wide full toss that he tried to slog sweep – led to his downfall but by then Mumbai had regained lost momentum. And Buttler simply ran with it.

A straight drive against chinaman Brad Hogg was followed by a pulled six. The equation shrunk from 101 off 60 balls to 49 off 30. A scoop to the fine leg boundary – which established his finesse – and two lofted cover drives – which established his power – deflated Knight Riders. Gautam Gambhir, who had taken the record (27) for the most fifties in the IPL, watched the ball soar and the chances for his team sink with every minute Buttler was on strike.

And when he fell for 41 off 22 balls, the Mumbai captain, Rohit Sharma, back at his preferred opening position, provided more evidence of why he should be given as many overs as possible in a T20 game. He held the innings together and even finished it off with an array of beautiful shots – a straight six and a deft glide to third man – followed by an outrageous sweep taking an overpitched delivery coming at him with the express pace of Andre Russell from around the wicket and depositing it at the midwicket boundary.

Full report to follow

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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