It has been a sensational turn-around for Kolkata Knight Riders since the resumption of IPL 2021. In both the matches, they tasted sweet victories, better to say, authoritative wins. First, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, they won with a 60-ball margin and in this match, against the defending champs Mumbai Indians, they won with 29 balls to spare. The Kolkata skipper Eoin Morgan, would have had his heart in his mouth after electing to field. Mumbai openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock were going strong and scored 56 runs without being separated. But, the guile of Sunil Narine saw the back of Rohit in the 10th over. From there on, Mumbai batsmen struggled to get momentum. Though de Kock got to his fifty, he couldn’t convert it into a big one. Kolkata bowlers pulled back in the second half to restrict Mumbai to 155.
In the first six overs of Kolkata’s chase, the intent was clean as a whistle. Though Shubman Gill departed early, the newbie Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi made sure the momentum wasn’t tinkered. The duo of Iyer and Tripathi constructed an 88-run partnership of just 52 deliveries before Iyer was dismissed to a well-made 53 off 30 balls. Tripathi stayed till the end and made sure Kolkata crossed the ropes without any hiccup with an unbeaten 74 off 42. Iyer’s 25-ball fifty and Rohit’s 1000-run feat against Kolkata were the highlights of the match. Apart from that, there were few more notable stats from the match and here are a few:
The first batsman to 1000 runs against an opposition
When Rohit listens to the word “Kolkata” his ears and eyes are light up and there is something special from him in that match. Let be when he is playing against Kolkata or in Kolkata, there are plenty of runs on offer. In IPL, Rohit became the first batsman to score 1000 runs against an opposition and guess what, its Kolkata. He now has 1015 runs against them at an average of 46.1, his best against an opponent in IPL.
However good he has been against Kolkata, there is one bowler in their unit that has been Rohit’s kryptonite. In the match 34 as well, Rohit was dismissed by Narine. This was the ninth time in T20s that Narine had the better of Rohit. No other bowler has dismissed Rohit more than Narine has in his T20 career. In the IPL, today was the seventh innings in which Narine was the cause of his demise. Narine joined an elite list of bowlers in IPL to dismiss a batsman seven times. Virat Kohli against Sandeep Sharma, MS Dhoni against Zaheer Khan, Rohit against Amit Mishra and Narine, are the list of batsmen with most dismissals against bowlers in IPL.
Kolkata off to a flyer
Chasing a moderate total of 156, Kolkata’s top order batsmen were off to a flying start. Gill was dismissed early, but he as well added to the cause with a nine-ball 13. But, it was Tripathi and Iyer who boosted Kolkata in this phase. Their start was so good that it became their best start of the season. To add more, this was the best ever start they got against Mumbai in IPL. Their previous best score in powerplay against Mumbai was in 2013 in Kolkata (61/1). In this match, they bettered it by two runs.
Iyer puts on a show
In the first half of this season, Kolkata were lacking that wow factor in the opening slot. Nitish Rana and Gill opened in all seven matches. However, the spark in Gill wasn’t visible and Rana was too inconsistent. Both of them scored under 125. But, the introduction of Iyer at the top has brought a new change. He scored an unbeaten 41 at a strike rate of 151.8 in his first match against Bangalore. Today, he bettered it with a 50 off just 25 balls. His fifty off 25 balls is the fastest for a Kolkata batsman against Mumbai. To add more, this was also the second fastest fifty by an opener against Mumbai in IPL.
A win through chase after six years against Mumbai
Kolkata, prior to this match had 61 wins through chase (super-over included), which is the most for any team. However, against Mumbai which has been their nightmare team in IPL, Kolkata had won only three matches out of the 13 times they had chased. Their last win against the opposition through chase came in 2015 at Eden Garden. This was their fourth win in a chase against Mumbai in IPL and the first post 2015.