When a slot in the playoffs and the top two is up for grabs, there is everything to play for. However, when a team wilts under pressure, it results in a no-contest.
That was the story at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday night as Mumbai Indians rolled over Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets to finish on top of the table. The mauling helped Sunrisers Hyderabad sneak into the playoffs with the least points tally across 12 editions.
Given the dew factor, Rohit Sharma had no hesitation in asking Knight Riders to take first strike. The Kolkata side, seeking a dramatic entry into the climactic phase despite suffering six successive losses at one stage, got off to a perfect start as Chris Lynn cleared the short boundaries at will.
However, Shubman Gill couldn’t find his silken touch at the other end. His stay was ended by Hardik Pandya who trapped him in front to begin his spell in impressive fashion after the PowerPlay. Lynn perished in Hardik’s next over, top-edging a wild heave which was well held by Quinton de Kock.
Robin Uthappa, walking in next, had a difficult time and struggled to even rotate the strike. His 47-ball knock, which ended only in the final over, had a whopping 25 dot balls.
To add to Knight Riders’ misery, Dinesh Karthik was smartly pouched by Krunal Pandya at mid-wicket off Lasith Malinga in the 13th over. Andre Russell then gloved the first legal delivery he faced, offering de Kock a simple catch and leaving Knight Riders in dire straits at 73 for four.
Despite Nitish Rana’s cameo, Knight Riders could finish only with 133.
When Quinton de Kock gave Mumbai Indians a breezy start, the fate of the game was almost sealed.
While de Kock couldn’t convert his start, captain Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav powered their side to a nine-wicket win with four overs to spare.
Rohit was in full flow, driving and pulling with aplomb. His form will augur well for Mumbai as it goes into Qualifier 1 against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on Tuesday.