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Mavi Shines on a tough first night for KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders went down to Mumbai Indians by 49 runs in their opening match of the Dream XI IPL in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, following some explosive batting displays from Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma (80 off 54 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (47 off 28).

Winning the toss and electing to field, KKR restricted Mumbai to 195/5. The Knights started off well with Shivam Mavi and Sandeep Warrier, posing a few teething problems to the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock with some early swing. Mavi was quick to dismiss de Kock for just 1 run in his opening over that culminated into a wicket maiden. But soon after, the juggernaut started as Rohit and Suryakumar went all out with their hitting prowess. While runs came thick and fast for the Mumbai side, Mavi (2/32) and Sunil Narine (1/22) tried all their tricks to keep the run flow in check.

Mavi, who was making his appearance in an IPL match after sitting out the entire last season due to an injury, particularly impressed everyone by varying his pace as and when required. Narine also showed some spark with the ball as he turned out to be the most economical bowler of the match (Econ 5.50). Karthik entrusted the young Mavi to bowl the last over, which showed the respect he had earned with his thoughtful bowling.

“I think he was looking really good upfront. The poor guy missed out last year due to injury. But this year, he is shaping up well and that’s a good sign for KKR,” said Karthik in the post-match conference.

Pat Cummins, who was the biggest buy of the auctions, wasn’t at his best of form today, giving away 49 runs in 3 overs. But Karthik insisted that it would be too harsh to judge him right away. “I think it’s very unfair to judge him right now. He just came out of the quarantine. It was literally at 3.34PM today when he got the permission to play the match. We are happy to have him. He is a world champion bowler and I trust him completely. I am sure he will come good,” pointed Karthik.

Chasing 196 in the Abu Dhabi conditions was never going to be easy and KKR stumbled upon some early roadblocks as Shubman Gill departed scoring just 7 runs off 11 balls. Sunil Narine didn’t look comfortable either in the middle as he fell next (9 off 10 balls), while trying to pull a short delivery from James Pattinson. Even though Dinesh Karthik (30 off 23), who promoted himself in the batting order, and Nitish Rana (24 off 18) tried to bring some stability with a 46-run stand for the third wicket, the piling pressure led to a middle order collapse. Andre Russell (11) and Eoin Morgan (16) couldn’t last long either as KKR sank deeper. A last-minute cameo from Cummins (33 off 12) was fun to watch but it wasn’t enough to overturn the deficit as KKR finished on 146/9.

KKR will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 26 in Abu Dhabi.