Mumbai Indians defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 9 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday to top the points table of the 2019 Indian Premier League. MI have thus eliminated KKR and taken Sunrisers Hyderabad to the playoffs.
Mumbai Indians will take on Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier at the Chepauk on May 7. Delhi Capitals, who also finished with 18 points like MI and CSK, are 3rd in the points table because of a lower net run rate and will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator in Vizag on May 8.
Mumbai Indians steamrolled KKR after Lasith Malinga and the Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal – restricted the visitors to 133 for 7 off 20 overs. Quinton de Kock set the tone for a rapid chase with a quick 30 before he was spectacularly caught by Dinesh Karthik off Prasidh Krishna.
Chasing a modest total, MI had raced away to 46 off the powerplay and de Kock’s exit meant nothing for the hosts. Rohit Sharma hit only his fifty of the 2019 Indian Premier League as Mumbai Indians cruised to a comfortable victory to bury the ghost of a nightmarish 2018.
After winning the toss, Rohit Sharma put Kolkata Knight Riders in. KKR had lost 6 matches in a row but they had won 4 out of their first 5 matches this season before the losing streak.
Back-to-back wins against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab over the last week meant KKR had to beat MI at the Wankhede in the last league game of the season to reach the playoffs.
But Kolkata Knight Riders batted poorly. Shubman Gill, who had 2 successive fifties, succumbed to Hardik Pandya. Chris Lynn led the charge for KKR with a rapid 41 but he became Hardik’s second victim. Dinesh Karthik never looked comfortable in his stay at the crease and managed just 3 before falling to Lasith Malinga.
Malinga struck again in the same over to remove Andre Russell for a duck. At 73 for 4 off 12.5 overs, KKR’s challenge was as good as over and Sunrisers Hyderabad had started to smile.
Robin Uthappa’s hit and miss innings frustrated the KKR camp. He did hit 3 sixes but his slow-paced innings cost the team dearly. Uthappa, who fell to Jasprit Bumrah in the penultimate ball of the innings, managed 40 off 47 and despair was writ large on his face throughout the knock.
KKR’s batting line-up had amazed several experts throughout the season. In a must-win match, Andre Russell was once again held back and he came out to bat when Mumbai Indians had successfully managed to build up substantial pressure.