The Mumbai Indians stormed their way to the IPL 2017 final defeating the Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets in Qualifier 2 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday. After opting to bowl, the MI bowlers destroyed their opponents, bundling them out for 107, after which their batsmen chased down the runs in 14.3 overs. Karn Sharma was the destroyer for MI, while Krunal Pandya’s performance stood out in the run-chase.
MI reaped the rewards for being aggressive at the start of the match. Mitchell Johnson, playing in place of the injured Mitchell McClenaghan, bowled a fiery first over and conceded only three runs. Jasprit Bumrah benefitted from the pressure built at the other end as Chris Lynn holed out to long-on in the second over. The other opener Sunil Narine and Gautam Gambhir struggled to get the ball of the square in the face of extremely disciplined bowling from MI. KKR were 22/1 after 4 overs.
In the fifth over, Narine attempted to break the shackles and charged out, not picking the googly, only to be stumped. Robin Uthappa was trapped leg before by Bumrah in the sixth over, while Gambhir was beaten in flight by Karn Sharma and picked out the man at midwicket. The very next delivery Colin de Grandhomme was dismissed for a first-ball duck. Only seven overs had been bowled and half the KKR line-up was back in the dressing room. KKR 31/5.
Ishan Jaggi and Suryakumar Yadav applied well and gave the innings some respectability with a 56-run partnership. The sixth wicket partnership was broken in the fifteenth over when Jaggi (28 from 31 balls) picked the fielder at long-on. KKR then slipped, losing four wickets in quick time including that of a well-set Yadav for 31 (25 balls, 2 fours, 1 six). They did not even bat out their twenty overs and were bundled out for 107.
On the bowling front, Karn Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah were sensational and did the bulk of the damage; while the leg-spinner Karn returned figures of 4-16, Bumrah, playing his 100th T20 match, returned career-best figures of 3/7.
MI had a rough start to their chase; Lendl Simmons didn’t pick a googly from Piyush Chawla and played down the wrong line to be dismissed LBW, while Parthiv Patel edged a wide delivery to the wicketkeeper in the third over. MI were reduced to 34/3 when Ambati Rayudu too played down the wrong line and lost his off peg to Chawla.
But skipper Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya settled the nerves with a 54-run partnership that took MI to the brink; the latter was the more aggressive batsman, contributing 34 runs in the fourth wicket stand. Rohit (26) hit two pleasing strokes in his 24-ball outing, one a cover drive and a six over long-on – before pulled a Nathan Coulter-Nile delivery to the man at square-leg.
Krunal stayed on and completed the job; he hit eight boundaries in his 28-ball 45 and duly scored the winning runs. As a result of this convincing win, MI progress to the tournament final where they will meet Rising Pune Supergiant at Hyderabad May 21 (tomorrow).