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IPL Season 9: Sharma gets Mumbai Indians on the board

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The IPL's defending champions, the Mumbai Indians, picked up their first win of the new season, beating the Kolkata Knight Riders by 6 wickets with 5 balls to spare at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday night.

The Knight Riders lost the toss and were invited to bat first, and at the half-way stage of the game, felt that they had scored more than enough to win the game, having posted a very competitive 187-5 in their 20 overs. Skipper Gautam Gambhir had anchored the innings with a solid rather than spectacular 64 from 52 balls, while Manish Pandey and Andre Russell had provided the acceleration with the former making 52 from 29 balls, striking at nearly 180. Russell chipped in with 36 from 17 balls and barring 4 good overs from Mitchell McClenaghan (2-25), the Mumbai bowlers had largely been unimpressive.

Mumbai made a decent start with Parthiv Patel opening the batting with Rohit Sharma, the duo adding 53 for the opening wicket. Sharma was keeping his side in the game, but the promotion of Hardik Pandya to no.3 failed again with the youngster contributing a slow 9 from 10 balls, certainly not what Mumbai needed.

Mitchell McClenaghan's promotion to no.4 was even more unexpected, but the Kiwi pacer did what he was asked, smashing three sixes in double quick time to give the Mumbai innings the push it needed. His dismissal for an 8-ball 20 to Kuldeep Yadav brought Jos Buttler to the crease, and the English keeper smashed 3 sixes and as many fours en route to a quickfire 41 from 22 balls to settle the contest.

All the while, Rohit Sharma went about his business at the other end, finishing unbeaten on 84 from just 54 balls, guiding the Mumbai Indians to an important win, even at this early stage of the season.

Teams:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Colin Munro, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, John Hastings, Kuldeep Yadav, Bradd Hogg

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Jos Buttler, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, J Suchith, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah

Mini Scorecard:

Kolkata Knight Riders 187/5 (20 overs, 9.35rpo)

G Gambhir 64 (52) M McClenaghan 2-25 (4)

M Pandey 52 (29) H Pandya 1-22 (2)

Mumbai Indians 188/4 (19.1 overs, 9.80rpo)

R Sharma 84* (54) P Chawla 1-29 (3.1)

J Buttler 41 (22) K Yadav 1-37 (4)

Mumbai Indians win by 6 wickets