MI vs KKR: Tripathi-Iyer blitz lights up Abu Dhabi as KKR go 4th in points table
Kolkata Knight Riders knew exactly what they were up against on Thursday and it seems head coach Brendon McCullum's demand for a 'more aggressive brand of cricket' is exactly what the young bunch of boys in Purple and Gold are steadfastly focusing on.
The night belonged to Eoin Morgan and his boys as they thrashed defending champions Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets with 29 balls to spare. Venkatesh Iyer (53 off 30) and Rahul Tripathi (74* off 42) lit up the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium as the duo played some visually-pleasing effortless cricket to help KKR seal the victory.
Winning the toss, KKR put Mumbai to bat first on a sluggish Abu Dhabi wicket. Mumbai started off strongly with Rohit Sharma (33 off 30) and Quinton de Kock (55 off 42) scoring at a brisk pace. When Sunil Narine provided KKR the first breakthrough in form of Rohit, Mumbai were cruising at 78 runs in 9.2 overs.
However, Narine (1/20 in 4 overs) and Varun Chakaravarthy (22 in 4 overs) remained extremely economical to pull Mumbai back, while Lockie Ferguson bowled a brilliant last over, giving away just 6 runs for two wickets (a run out included), to restrict them to a modest 155-6. Prasidh Krishna went for 18 runs in his final over but picked up two crucial wickets of De Kock and Surya Kumar Yadav (5) in his 4 overs.
The chase never looked too daunting a task for KKR, especially after a confident show against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last outing. Shubman Gill (13 off 9) and Iyer got KKR off to a flying start. When Gill departed in the last ball of the 3rd over, KKR already had 40 runs on the board. However, it was Tripathi and Iyer's partnership (88 off 52 balls) that took KKR to a position where winning seemed a matter of time.
Iyer cotinued his brilliant form as he struck his maiden IPL fifty in just 25 balls. His 53 was studded with fours 4s and three 6s. Tripathi, on the other hand, was at his fanatic best too! Though he was lucky to escape a few sticky situations, his flamboyance with the bat made up for all of it.
With the win, KKR have now gone 4th in the points table with 4 wins in 9 matches. The Net Run Rate has improved drastically too, as we now stand at +0.363.