Hardik’s highest IPL score was not enough to see his team over the line. His blistering knock of 93 from just 32 almost overshadowed Russell’s 40-ball 80. KKR held their nerves and the final nail in the coffin, Hardik’s dismissal in the 18 over was too much for the MI lower order to achieve.
233 is never easy even if the pitch is a belter. The matter became worse when their prolific scorer in powerplays, Quinton de kock gets out top edging a sweep shot in the second over itself. Couple of overs later, Harry Gurney caught Rohit in front of the stumps while playing a cross batted shot. It was a dream start for KKR, and it took them 10 games to finally get their performance with ball right during the field restrictions.
The golden boy Russell was entrusted with the seventh over and he didn’t disappoint after removing his countrymate, Evin Lewis on the first ball of his spell. The required run rate was climbing and in came Hardik Pandya, who had the best S/R in the tournament after Russell among batsmen who played a min of 100 balls. Wickets kept tumbling at the other end but Hardik took a liking to the leggie, Chawla destroying his bowling figures. Hardik brought his maiden IPL fifty of this season in just 17 balls, the fastest this season. 93 was required off the final five overs, but Hardik continued on his merry way and kept MI in the hunt to chase a record target in IPL.
In a must win game KKR got the ideal start with Lynn and Gill playing cautiously to negate the threat of Bumrah and Malinga. One the powerplay was over, Lynn went to fifth gear while Gill was playing the second fiddle. Both added 96 runs for the 1st wicket before Lynn was removed by Chahar. The incoming batsmen was none other than Andre Russell, about whom experts have given lot of theories that he should bat at No 4. The platform was set for Russell but he didn’t attack from the word for rather he took time to settle himself. Meanwhile Gill took the onus and blasted MI bowlers all round the park and in the process brought his second fifty in this IPL.
Gill played a measured innings of 76 before mistiming a slower ball from Hardik. 200 was on the cards but the MI bowlers had a plan while bowling to Russell, bowling wide outside off-stump. The plan worked for Hardik where he gave just 4 runs but with it came the risk of leaking easy runs. Russell stood his ground and used his full reach to tonk the ball over the park with brute force.
In the first half of his innings Russell was going at S/R of just under 130 but once the death overs came he unleashed himself. Even the better exponents at death, Malinga and Bumrah weren’t spared. The incoming batsmen Karthik only faced 7 balls to ensure that Russell gets enough strike. Russell smacked Hardik for 3 sixes in the penultimate over to ensure that KKR end at 233, the highest total in this season so far.
KKR scored 13 runs off the 8th over of their innings that increased their run rate to 9.50 and their chances of victory by 11%, the biggest momentum shift in the game.
Losing Rohit Sharma was a big setback for MI. In a run-chase of 233, their chances of victory before the beginning of the 4th over were already lower than 10% and his departure brought it further down to 3%.
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