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Mumbai Indians outplay Kolkata Knight Riders to claim top position despite making six changes

Ambati Rayudu made a splendid comeback for Mumbai
Ambati Rayudu made a splendid comeback for Mumbai

Mumbai Indians 173-5 (Rayudu 63) beat
Kolkata Knight Riders 164-8 (Pandey 33) by nine runs
54th match, Indian Premier League, Eden Gardens

Mumbai Indians sealed their position at the top of the Indian Premier League after outclassing Kolkata Knight Riders by nine runs in the 54th match of the tournament at Eden Gardens.

Kolkata decided to field first on winning the toss. Mumbai entered the game by resting six of their front-line players to test the bench strength.

Trent Boult (2-30) was instrumental with the new ball as he conceded just eight runs and picked the wicket of Lendl Simmons (0). Saurahb Tiwary (52) and Rohit Sharma (27) struck five boundaries and a six between to take the score to 51 for one at the end of the powerplay.

With Rohit at his favourite venue, he looked flawless as the boundaries kept coming for Mumbai Indians but Ankit Rajpoot (1-14) ended the 57-run stand when he snared the Mumbai skipper LBW in the ninth over and the visitors were 79 for two at haflway mark.

After Ambati Rayudu (63) and Tiwary consolidated the innings a bit, Mumbai crossed the 100-run mark in the 14th over. The duo stepped up the accelerator as they plundered four boundaries and a six in a span of nine deliveries with Tiwary reaching his fifty.

Even though, Mumbai lost Tiwary, Rayudu continued the onslaught as he reached his 50 with a four and a six. Kolkata made a brief comeback in the final over bowled by Boult which had only four runs coming as Mumbai ended their innings at 173 for five in their 20 overs.

In response, Tim Southee (2-39) bowled a brilliant maiden over to begin with which also had the wicket of Sunil Narine (0). Gautam Gambhir (21) kicked started the proceedings with a couple of boundaries while Chris Lynn (26) hit a six and a four in the next over to take Kolkata to 30 for one in three overs.

Despite, the runs were coming at quicker rate, Mumbai continued to pick wickets as Gambhir, Robin Uthappa (2) and Lynn fell in three successive overs.

Yusuf Pathan (20) looked at his belligerent best as he struck three sixes in his first four deliveries but holed out to deep in the ninth over to give Vinay Kumar (2-31) his second wicket.

Colin de Grandhomme (29) kept playing the shots as his four boundaries and a six reduced the required run rate to 7.6 at the end of the 14th over. However, Hardik Pandya (2-22) handed the decisive blow for Kolkata when he removed both de Grandhomme and Manish Pandey (33) from which the hosts did not recover and were restricted to 164 for eight in their 20 overs.

The seven run victory meant Mumbai have finished at the top and will play at Wankhede in the Qualifier 1 while Knight Riders slip to third and drop out of contention for the all important top two positions.

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