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Thursday, Jun 27th

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The Mumbai Indians reclaimed second spot in the Indian Premier League standings by routing the Kolkata Knight Riders by 65 runs at the Wankhede Stadium. Powered by an outstanding 48 from just 28 balls by the long overdue Sachin Tendulkar and an equally attacking 34 from Dinesh Karthik, Mumbai posted an imposing 170-6 in their 20 overs. KKR were never really in the hunt, bowled out for an appalling 105 with only four batsmen getting into double figures. Harbhajan Singh led an excellent bowling unit with figures of 3-27, but the wickets were shared around excellently with Mitchell Johnson doing just as well to take 2-13 from his 4 overs.

 

It had been just two days since the Mumbai Indians had registered an emphatic victory against two-time champions, the unstoppable Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. At the same venue and with the same momentum, the team was all set to take on defending champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, who were in a must-win situation and had a slim chances of making it to the play-offs.

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Mike Hussey took center stage once again continuing his red hot form with a match winning 95 and then effecting a run out of the other star of the evening Manvinder Bisla in what threatened to be an action replay of last year's final. The Chennai seamers held their nerves very well in the tense closing moments overcoming a late assault by Bisla and Eoin Morgan to down a devastated Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.

KKR captain Gautam Gambhir won the flip of the coin and immediately opted to bowl first considering Chennai are ruthless chasers. The unavailability of Sri Lankan players for games at Chennai forced Sachitra Senanayake out of this tie as Brendon McCullum made his first appearance of the season. The visitors also substituted spinner Iqbal Abdulla with Shami Ahmed deciding to go with Sunil Narine as the lone spinner.

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The Kolkata Knight Riders finally ended their 3 game losing streak and got their season back on track with a crucial 6 wicket win against the Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens on Friday night. The Kings XI posted an under par 149-6 on the board with everyone in their top order making starts, but no one going on to make a telling contribution. Jacques Kallis was outstanding with the ball, taking 2-14 from his 4 overs.

The Kings XI Punjab made a fist of it at the start, landing two crucial early blows in the run chase, but a welcome return to form for Manvinder Bisla (51), and some excellent and highly contrasting contributions from Jacques Kallis and Eoin Morgan, saw KKR over the line with nearly 2 overs to spare.

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The Mumbai Indians celebrated Sachin Tendulkar's 40th Birthday in ideal fashion, notching up their 4th win of the IPL in front of a packed house at the Eden Gardens, who unsurprisingly had loads of love to hand out to the visitors. The game itself was a nail-biter that went down to the wire, with Ambati Rayudu and the irrepressible Harbhajan Singh seeing their side to victory with a ball to spare.

The expected change in the Mumbai team was evident right at the toss as Rohit Sharma walked out to captain the Mumbai Indians in place of Ricky Ponting, who sat out of this game in favour of Mitchell Johnson. Kolkata won the toss and elected to make first use of what is traditionally a slow, low pitch at the Gardens. There were changes for both sides with Mumbai bringing in two more spinners for the Kolkata experience - Pragyan Ojha and Yuzvendra Chahal. KKR meanwhile made just the one change, also bringing in an additional spinner Iqbal Abdulla for Laxmi Ratan Shukla.

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The Chennai Super Kings continued to climb up the IPL standings winning yet another low scoring contest as they triumphed over the disintegrating Kolkata Knight Riders by 4 wickets in front of 70,000 boisterous fans at the Eden Gardens. The men in yellow survived a middle order hiccup as 'Sir' Ravindra Jadeja showed the world that IPL is not only about Gayle-storm, taking three crucial wickets before smashing a 14 ball 36 that was studded with three vicious sixes to seal it for the men in yellow.

This was the first time these two sides came face to face after the final of IPL 2012. Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir drew first blood by winning the toss and electing to bat first under overcast conditions. Asked what he would have done had the coin landed in his favor, Dhoni confessed he too would have batted first.

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An organized and efficient team effort from Kings XI Punjab nullified Kolkata's individual contributions to pull off a surprising 4 run win over the defending champions at the PCA stadium in Mohali as KXIP picked up their second win of the season.

Sunil Narine's hat-trick, the tenth overall in the IPL and Gautam Gambhir's 60 runs from just 39 balls were overpowered by a late hurricane from Manpreet Gony lower down the Punjab innings and a tidy effort with the ball by Azhar Mahmood and Praveen Kumar. The sea-saw battle witnessed the momentum shift in favour of the Knight Riders quite a few times but the Punjab seamers held their nerve in the final moments of the game to hand Kolkata another frustrating loss.

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The Eden Gardens was subjected to an Irish feast, as the home team rode the Morgan-wave, cruising to a humongous 48-run victory and registering their second win in IPL 2013. Valuable contributions from Manvinder Bisla, Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallllis and Eoin Morgan ensured a victory for the home side in a must-win encounter with the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The decision to bench the million-dollar Brendon McCullum once again was a highly debatable one, however, Bisla and Gambhir dispelled any such doubts by propelling the Kolkata Knight Riders to a crisp start; they made 48 in the powerplay, keeping their wickets intact. Bisla perished soon after, for a well-made 28 off 24 balls, however, the skipper carried on, dispatching the spinners to the fence and notching his second consecutive half-century off 39 balls. Kallis – the subdued contributor – was happy to knock the ball around for singles, and managing to find that odd boundary. Gambhir’s dismissal was against the run of play, with Ashish Reddy’s persistence with the slower ball getting the skipper out for a 45-ball-53 – an innings that earned him the Man of the Match.

 

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