Defending champions Mumbai Indians are virtually out of this edition of Indian Premier League. On Wednesday night in Cuttack, Rohit Sharma and Co could make only 141/5 on a tricky Barabati Stadium pitch. Kolkata Knight Riders, courtesy opener Robin Uthappa’s third fifty of the tournament (80, 52b, 9x4, 3x6), crossed the line in 18.4 overs with six wickets in hand.
It was Mumbai Indians’ seventh loss in 10 matches, making it almost impossible for them to make the playoffs even if they go on to win their remaining four matches. Mumbai Indians’ misery this league started in UAE, where they lost all their five matches. This made it difficult for them when they returned to India as they had to win all their nine matches to enter the last four. Though they began on a promising note winning their first two matches at home, loss to Chennai Super Kings and to KKR have stagnated their progress.
On Wednesday, Mumbai rode on Sharma’s 51 (45b, 4x4, 2x6) and No. 3 Ambati Rayudu’s 33. The KKR spin duo of Shakib Al-Hasan and Sunil Narine applied the brakes on Mumbai batsmen, conceding only 39 runs in their combined eight overs. It was not very easy for the batsmen to put bat on ball as was shown by Kieron Pollard, who consumed 11 deliveries for his unbeaten 10.
KKR adopted a cautious approach to the target. Captain Gautam Gambhir was pleased to let Uthappa take control of the situation. Uthappa backed himself to play a match-winning knock. After a mixed start to the tournament, Uthappa has been in tremendous touch of late, coming into this match with scores of 46, 47, 65, 47 from his previous four outings. Even though he lost Gambhir, who played on a Harbhajan Singh delivery that he expected to turn but didn’t, he went about his business unperturbed, notching up his highest score in this edition.
Uthappa scored three sixes in his knock including two off successive deliveries off Lendl Simmons in 16th over.