Kolkata Knight Riders 165 for 9 (V Iyer 43, Rana 43, Bumrah 5-10, Kartikeya 2-32) beat Mumbai Indians 113 (Kishan 51, Cummins 3-22, Russell 2-22) by 52 runs
That score, however, was roughly 30 runs less than might have been anticipated once Bumrah had finished his rampage. In the space of nine balls, he dynamited five wickets for four runs – doubling his tally for the season in the process, having managed just five all told in his first ten outings of Mumbai’s non-starter of a season.
Bumrah blitzes KKR’s lower order
There are match-ups, and then there are match-ups. Bumrah to Russell, in the 15th over of a well-established first innings, is very much of the latter variety.
Bumrah had bowled a solitary over up until his re-introduction, conceding five runs in the process including a sweetly timed boundary first-ball. He returned with KKR ominously placed on 136 for 3, and with Russell already swinging from the hip with a monstrous second-ball six to his name. What came next was simply dynamite viewing.
Bumrah’s opening gambit was a howling yorker, as pinpoint accurate as such things are possible to be. Russell did exceptionally to dig it out from under his toes with the straightest blade of his career. But it was just a one-ball reprieve. Bumrah went hard into the pitch next ball, luring a wild swipe across the line as Kieron Pollard steadied himself to swallow a vital chance at long-on.
Three balls later, and a well-set Rana drifted into Bumrah’s sights – he’d picked up his own tempo with four sixes in eight balls, driving Pollard to distraction in the process to reach 43 from 25. But Bumrah had the answer for Rana’s skittish footwork – a grille-seeking bouncer, gloved uneasily through to Kishan, whose conviction in the appeal was upheld by UltraEdge. It was game-changing stuff from Mumbai’s mightiest weapon, and he was only just getting started.
Bumrah’s coup de grace was an utter snorter. Round the wicket, as completely at Sunil Narine as it could possibly have been, as Narine reared back into his crease to ride the bounce but managed only to splice a looping chance through to the bowler as he charged by in his followthrough. As performances go, it deserved distinctly better than a 5/10. But, to judge by Mumbai’s run-chase, it needed to have been 10/10 to give his team a chance.
Cummins takes his cue
Hard lengths you say? Cummins may not have enjoyed his own evening in the firing line, but KKR’s most thoroughbred fast bowler was clearly taking notes while Bumrah was busy scalping him. In a reintroduction that had uncanny parallels to that of his opposite number, Cummins returned in the 15th over with a match-up of his own in mind.
Ishan Kishan had eased along to a 41-ball half-century, showing unflustered accumulation after the controversial first-over demise of his captain and opening partner Rohit Sharma, who was adamant he hadn’t nicked the nipbacker from Tim Southee that offered up a range of white noise on UltraEdge.
But there was no controversy about the ball that blasted Kishan from the crease – a body-cramping bouncer that Rinku Singh at square leg did wonderfully to claw in as it swirled out of the floodlights. It was the fourth time in 21 balls that Cummins had got his quarry, and at a cost of 22 runs all told, and at 100 for 5, it was a destabilising blow to KKR’s hopes.
Five balls and two more wickets later, the chase had been diverted off a cliff. An exchange of singles was all Sams could muster in his time at the crease, as Cummins targeted his helmet and picked off the feathered top-edge. And though Murugan Ashwin had the right idea as he shaped inside the line for an uppercut, third man had merely to hop on the edge of the rope to drag down the third wicket of the over, and leave Pollard with too much to do.
Iyer fires to give KKR their chance
Venkatesh has had an underwhelming IPL to date – and his absence from the side for the last two matches had been symptomatic of a side that has churned through 20 players in 11 games, more than any other outfit, and with even now no real sense of what their best XI looks like. Mind you, his only previous score of note, an unbeaten 50 from 41, had also come against Mumbai in their first meeting of the campaign. And perhaps emboldened by what he witnessed from the non-striker’s end on that occasion – namely, Cummins’ aforementioned match-swiping – Iyer resolved to be more forthright on his return to the top of the order at the expense of Baba Indrajith.
It may not have seemed likely at the time, but it was the powerplay that won it for KKR – and with each of his 43 runs from 24 balls coming while the field was up, Iyer’s onslaught was pivotal. His opening gambit was a flat-batted pull for six off the legspinner Ashwin, whom he also drove through the covers in his first over, before he turned his attentions to the pace of Riley Meredith, including with a stunning ramp – more of a full-blooded uppercut to be fair – high over fine leg for another six.
Sams and Kartikeya Singh were launched for Iyer’s third and fourth six to keep his innings galloping along, before the two men combined to curtail his onslaught with a top-edge to cover. But Rana got the memo with a second-ball drive for four to set up his own key performance, and put the seal on a six-over total of 64 for 1 – KKR’s best start of the competition. As it transpired, Mumbai barely managed twice that total in the whole of another faltering display.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket