Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya produced match-winning performances as Mumbai Indians pulled off a sensational four-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in Mumbai on Sunday.
Chasing the visitors total of 178 for 7, built mainly around Manish Pandeys swashbuckling 47-ball 81, MI got off to a superb start before losing four wickets in a cluster and looked down in the dumps at 119 for five before pulling off the win in 19.5 overs.
The heroes of MIs thrilling run-chase were one-down batsman Nitish Rana, who kept them in the hunt when wickets fell around him to make a 29-ball 50, and Hardik Pandya who cracked an 11-ball 29 to clinch a thrilling win.
Pandya also hit the winning stroke, a four towards long leg, in a dramatic last over after being dropped in the same over of Trent Boult, as MI recorded their first win in two games, having lost their lung-opener to Rising Pune Supergiant on April 6.
MI needed 49 runs off the last three overs and the 18th over by Boult swung the game their way as he was hit for two sixes, one each by Rana and Pandya, conceding 19 runs that brought down the run rate.
Although Rana departed in the penultimate over from Ankit Rajpoot after reaching his 50 in 28 balls, Pandya struck Rajpoot for a six to bring down the equation to eleven from six balls. He then rode his luck in the final over in which there was a misfield that got him a four and then the dropped catch reprieved him before he hit the winning four.
In the Mumbai run-chase, openers Parthiv Patel (30) and Jos Buttler (28) put on 65 runs before the partnership was broken in the 8th over by Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Singh who trapped left-handed Patel in front.
Mumbai, then, lost the wickets of Buttler and captain Rohit Sharma, who were both declared out leg before off a full toss and a clear inside-edge respectively by Ankit Rajpoot and Sunil Narine.
Both looked not out on TV replays and Sharma, out to the sixth ball he faced, was incensed with the decision of umpire C K Nandan and remonstrated, showing his bat, for which he may face censure from the match referee.
And when Krunal Pandya was caught behind to a leg side deflection, MI were left struggling at 97 for four in the 13th over. Rana smacked Kuldeep for a six and a four in successive balls while the big-made Kieron Pollard pulled Rajput from wide of stumps over the mid-wicket to keep the hunt on as MI crossed 100. But the asking rate kept climbing so that MI needed 64 in the last five overs.
Earlier, Pandey smashed five sixes and as many fours to blitz his way to an unbeaten 81 and help the Knight Riders recover from a mini collapse and muster a challenging score. The visitors, asked to bat first, made a brisk start when openers Chris Lynn (32) and captain Gautam Gambhir (19) put on 44 runs in four overs before losing their way against left arm spinner Krunal Pandya.
Krunals twin strike in the fifth over reduced the Knight Riders from 44 for no loss to 48 for two and then 87 for four before the innings was revived by Pandeys 47-ball innings.
The Karnataka batsman struck Mitchell McClenaghan for two sixes and as many fours in the last over of the innings that produced 23 runs. It was mainly due to the Karnataka batsmans clean hitting that the total crossed the 150 mark.
But apart from his superb innings and opener Lynns 24-ball 32, the innings lacked character. Krunal finished with fine figures of 3 for 24 while Malinga got 2 for 36 while McClenaghan finished with 1 for 51.
(Feature image source: PTI)