Mumbai Indians players celebrate their victory against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Riding on a stupendous knock by captain Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians (MI) defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 49 runs in their second IPL match to end their jinx of losing in the UAE on Wednesday, scoring 195/5.
It was an abject surrender by KKR as they never looked in contention in their chase and could manage to muster only 146/9.
It was a much-needed and a morale-boosting victory for MI, as before this match, they had never won any game on UAE soil since 2014.
They lost all their five matches when the tournament was shifted to the UAE in 2014 and followed it up with another loss in the season opener against Chennai Super Kings in 2020.
KKR got off to a stuttering start, losing the wicket of opener Shubham Gill with just 14 runs on the board in 2.4 overs.
Captain Dinesh Karthik did try to put the innings back on track with Rana as the duo added 45 runs for the third wicket but consumed too many deliveries, which left too much to be done by the batsmen to come.
Karthik was trapped in front of the wicket by Rahul Chahar in the 11th over. He scored a 23-ball 30 at a snail’s pace, leaving the team in a quagmire. Seven runs later, Rana also departed. KKR still needed 111 runs in 8.2 overs, with two new batsmen on the crease.
After that all the batsmen crumbled under the mounting pressure as the asking rate spiralled with every ball. Even Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell could not bring KKR back into the match. A late blitz by Cummins helped KKR reach a respectable total. They kept on losing the wickets and ended up for 146/9.
Earlier, Rohit played a captain’s innings to lead his team from the front. The MI skipper smashed a quick-fire 54-ball 80 and shared two important partnerships to steer MI to a huge total.
He added 90 runs for the second wicket with Surya Kumar Yadav, who fell just three runs short of his fifty. He also shared a 49-run stand with Saurabh Tiwary (21) for the third wicket to lay the foundation for a big total.
Rohit and Yadav played cautiously to shape up the innings after the departure of Quinton De Kock early on in the innings. Both the batsmen were watchful and kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and doubles, hitting occasional boundaries.
In the fifth over, Rohit changed gear and hit Pat Cummins of Australia for 15 runs to spur the run rate and put the pressure back on the KKR.
He picked the first ball of Cummins and pulled it towards the mid-wicket for the maximum result. After taking two singles, again hit him for another six in the same region to set the tone.
In the next over, Yadav greeted Narine with a boundary off the first ball after taking two singles on the next ball, again he hit the West Indian for another four, taking a total of 11 runs from the over.
There was no looking back as both the batsmen cruised along nicely without any trouble as KKR bowlers failed to capitalise on the early advantage that they got after getting rid of danger man De Kock.
Mumbai made no race of the chase, as captain Rohit Sharma late cut the first delivery to the boundary, and fellow opener Quinton de Kock finished on 78 not out off 44 balls to get them to 149-2 in the 17th over and their fifth straight win.
Both teams have the cushion of being in the contention for the final despite losing in the first qualifier.
Riding on a late surge by Morgan and a quick–fire cameo of 11-ball 25 by Andre Russell, Kolkata posted a huge total of 191/7 and restricted a lackluster Rajasthan for 131/9.
Ali's 151-run stand with fellow opener Abdullah Shafique helped bring play to an end before lunch on the final day, beating their first-innings partnership by five. The duo had already made 109 overnight, chasing 202.
Messi, 34, held off the challenge of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Chelsea’s Jorginho to collect the prize and move two clear in his long-running battle with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was among the 30 players shortlisted but did not feature in the top three for the first time in 11 years.
Ronaldo wrote on his Instagram account, “I would like to talk about the statements of Pascal Ferre, in which he said that my only ambition is to end my football career with more Golden Balls than Lionel Messi, and that's a lie.”