Abu Dhabi: Kolkata Knight Riders rode to an impressive 41-run victory over Mumbai Indians in the first match of the 2014 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday night.
It was an electrifying start to the tournament, with Jacques Kallis enthralling the packed stadium with a knock of 72 off 46 balls with five boundaries and three sixes. The South African and Manish Pandey (64 off 53 balls with six fours and two sixes) put on a partnership of 131 runs in 15.2 overs to set the stage for victory.
Even Mumbai pacer Lasith Malinga’s fine spell of four for 23 could not prevent Kolkata from posting a challenging 163 for five after skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to bat first. Sunil Narine then spun a web around the Indians’ batsmen to take four for 20 as they were restricted to 122 for seven.
Chasing a run rate of 8.15 per over, Mumbai needed a brisk start. New arrival Michael Hussey opened the innings with Michael Tare, but Vinay Kumar and Morne Morkel bowled tightly, giving nothing away.
Off-spinner Narine was introduced in the fifth over and Tare swept his second delivery over square leg for a six. But, two balls later, Narine bowled Hussey for three with a delivery that skid through his pat and bad.
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Ambati Rayudu joined Tare and the first five overs produced just 25 runs. Bangladesh left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hassan and Kallis both gave away just six runs in their first overs. The pressure began to mount on Mumbai and a frustrated Tare, who took 22 balls to hit 24 runs, went for a mighty hit but was caught and bowled by Al Hassan.
Though Rayudu kept the scoreboard moving with his skipper Rohit Sharma, the required rate piled up to over 14 an over.
With 69 runs needed off the last five overs, Sharma hit Morkel over mid-wicket for a six but perished to the very next ball. Attempting the same shot, he failed to clear the boundary and was caught by a diving Kallis.
After Rayudu fell for 48, stumped by wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa off Narine, the result was little more than a formality.
Earlier, Malinga picked up the first wicket of the seventh edition of the IPL with the fourth ball of his first over. It was a spectacular yorker that Gambhir misjudged and was bowled for a duck.
The first four of the tournament came from Pandey, who thumped Corey Anderson through mid-wicket. He also hit Harbhajan Singh for a boundary through
mid-wicket, but it took nine overs for Kallis to score his first boundary. However, it was worth the wait as he did it in style, going for a conventional sweep with elegance.
The partnership between Pandey and Kallis strengthened withevery over and, at the half-way stage, Kolkata were 63 for one.
Mumbai tried out all their bowlers in a bid to break the partnership, but Pandey reached his half-century off 42 balls with five boundaries and one six.
Kallis raced past Pandey, hitting Keiron Pollard for three boundaries in the 16th over.