Kolkata Knight Riders defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the first game of the Indian Premier League 2014 in Abu Dhabi. Follow the highlights here: (Match scorecard | Commentary | Schedule)
23:40 IST: I am playing less cricket now so I can put my body on the line. I don't have too many years left so am trying to enjoy as much as I can in the last two years: Jacques Kallis after picking up the Man-of-Match award.
That's the end of the opening match. Delhi Daredevils take on Royal Challengers Bangalore tomorrow.
23:38 IST: If me or Jacques (Kallis) end up batting till the 15th over, we will always get a good score. We have a very balanced bowling attack, most of the times we will end up winning the game if we bat well, a happy KKR captain Gautam Gambhir said at the post-match presentation.
23:34 IST: There is a lot to learn from our opening loss to KKR. It's a long tournament and we'll come back strong, said Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma
An all-round, clinical display helped Kolkata Knight Riders get off to a strong start in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League, as they defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. After electing to bat first in the first game of the season, KKR lost skipper Gautam Gambhir for a duck but scintillating half-centuries from Jacques Kallis (72) and Manish Pandey (64) helped the 2012 IPL champions post a commanding 163/5 off their 20 overs.
Mumbai Indians never really got going in their chase and after they lost the dependable Michael Hussey in the fifth over of the innings to Sunil Narine, who destroyed the Mumbai Indians batting with figures of 4/20 off four overs, the writing was on the wall. The West Indian off-spinner got great support from Morne Morkel, who picked 1/16 from his four overs after conceding five runs from the first three. Shakib al Hasan picked up 1/29 from four overs while Piyush Chawla got one off the last ball of the innings as MI managed only 122/7 in 20 overs.
23:18 IST: WICKET! Wow, what a spell from Narine. Harbhajan Singh the victim this time and Mumbai Indians are hurtling towards a big defeat unless Pollard does something special in nine balls.
23:16 IST: WICKET! And it's Narine again, who gets rid of Corey Anderson as Mumbai Indians reached 113/5 off 18.1 overs.
23:07 IST: WICKET! Narine, you beauty. He lures Rayudu out of the crease and allows Uthappa to complete an easy stumping. MIL 106/4 off 16.1 overs. This is getting worse for Mumbai Indians even though they have two of the most destructive hitters in world cricket - Pollard and Anderson together. KKR are in cruise control here.
23:00 IST: WICKET! What a way to get back at the batsman for hitting you out of the mark. Rohit tried to repeat his shot but Kallis held on to a good catch n the deep. The skipper departed or 27 as MI slipped to 101/3 off 15.2 overs. The onus is now on Rayudu and Pollard, who has joined him in the middle.
22:59 IST: SIX! And it had to be Rohit Sharma to break free. Morne Morkel makes the first error and he pays. That was spanked.
22:55 IST: Terrific bowling from Morne Morkel. His first spell was right on the money - 2-0-2-0 - and he conceded only three in his third. KKR are strangling Mumbai Indians here. Is this challenge too big even for the defending champs?
22:46 IST:FOUR! Great timing, great footwork! Rayudu gives Shakib the charge and slams it to the fence for a boundary but the required rate for MI is climbing up alright. MI: 78/2 off 12.3 overs.
22:41 IST: Rohit and Rayudu are clearly biding time and the former is relying on his big hitting abilities to keep Mumbai Indians in the game. But they are losing valuable time here, having reached 65/2 after 11 overs.
22:33 IST: Mumbai Indians needed to make the most of this strategic timeout and their fans would hope they have. At 47/2 after 9 overs, chasing 164, they have an uphill task from here even with their mighty batting line-up. Can Rohit lead a fightback?
22:24 IST: WICKET! Shakib removes Tare, taking a return catch, which he almost spilled. This is a huge loss for Mumbai Indians, for Tare was looking good before playing a risky shot to perish for a 22-ball 24. However, it's not over for MI by a long way, given their dangerous batting line-up. Rohit Sharma joins Rayudu in the middle. MI: 43/2 off 8.2 overs.
22:20 IST: Kallis with the ball. Can he make a further impact here? His knock is already worth a lot, judging by the position KKR find themselves in.
22:14 IST: All-spin assault now from KKR as Shakib joins the attack with Narine. Tricky period of play for Mumbai Indians, who need to up the ante. Can Gambhir get his bowlers to put in some quick, economical overs here?
22:09 IST: WICKET! And what a big one at that. Narine came back strongly after that six to knock off the dangerous Mike Hussey for a pain-staking and slow three. KKR are certainly on top at this stage but MI have some dangerous batsmen lower down the order - Rohit, Anderson and Pollard can turn a game on its head without much fuss. MI: 25/1 after 5 overs.
22:06 IST: SIX! Finally some intent from Mumbai Indians as Tare blasts a Narine delivery into the crowd. Mumbai Indians need to get a move-on here for the required rate is creeping up sharply.
22:02 IST: A sedate start for Mumbai Indians in pursuit of 164. Hussey and Tare have been watchful, reaching 16/0 off three overs against Mumbai Indians.
21:33 IST: A good finish for Kolkata despite a four wicket haul by Malinga. KKR have piled up 163/5 off their 20 overs after electing to bat first in the opening game against Mumbai Indians. Gautam Gambhir got off to a poor start to the seventh edition, falling for a blob, but his exit paved the way for Manish Pandey and Jacques Kallis to stitch a 131-run stand for the second wicket. Despite a slow start to the partnership, the pair batted with a lot of common sense and kept rotating the strike even when the boundaries were hard to come by. However, Lasith Malinga kept picking regular wickets towards the end of the innings to keep KKR away from an even bigger score.
But 163 will test Mumbai Indians even with their strong batting. KKR have three quality spinners in Shakib, Chawla and Narine.Can Mike Hussey and Rohit Sharma lead the defending champions to an opening win? Stay with us to find out!
21:29 IST: WICKET! Another one for Malinga, his fourth of the innings as he sends back Shakib al Hasan. What a spell by the slinga from Sri Lanka. He has truly countered two wonderful innings tonight with sheer brilliance. KKR are 149/5 off 19 overs.
21:28 IST: Some spice on the field. Anderson took a sharp catch to end Kallis' stay but the Proteas champion asked the Kiwi if he took a clean catch. And there were some words exchanged between the two. Corey had to be calmed by his new teammates but it was good fun for the viewers.
21:25 IST: WICKET! Malinga strikes again and this time he gets rid of the well-set Kallis, who perished for 72 off 46 balls. KKR are 145/4 off 18.2 overs. The onus is now on Yusuf Pathan.
21:22 IST: WICKET! Zaheer finally finds some luck, removing the dangerous Uthappa as KKR slump to 144/3 off 18 overs. It was a good delivery and Uthappa got too early into the shot, which brought about his downfall.
21:18 IST: SIX! Kallis launches into that one off Zaheer and gets the maximum. That was a moment, two veterans facing off against each other and while one international career is over, the other is trying to seek some momentum but Kallis showed who the boss was, right there. The beauty of the IPL.
21:15 (IST): WICKET! That's the end of a super innings by Pandey and he falls to Malinga for 64 off 53 balls. The knock was laced with six 4s and two 6s and it set the tone for KKR's revival after a poor start. In comes another Karnataka batsman, Robin Uthappa.
21:05 (IST): Kallis smokes a six off Ojha as KKR get past 100 and despite their rather slow scoring rate, they seem to be heading towards a strong total. The South African veteran smashed another six off the last ball of the over to bring up his fifty. KKR 110/1 off 15 overs.
20:59 (IST): A well-deserved half-century for Pandey in his first game for KKR. He was also the first Indian to get a century in the IPL but the elegant right-handed batsman had lost his way over the years. This innings under pressure should hold him in good stead. KKR:87/1 off 13.3 overs.
20:51 (IST): This has been a strange innings by KKR so far - they have not lost any more wickets after an early loss when Gambhir fell to Malinga but Pandey and Kallis have not been able to completely break the shackles either, despite some aggressive intentions from the two. Maybe Kallis has realised this is not going to be a high-scoring game. The South African is a wily customer and he certainly has a target in mind. KKR 78/1 off 12 overs.
20:45 (IST): This is good, aggressive intent from Pandey as he greets Anderson back into the attack with a cracking shot - the ball races away to the fence and the KKR fans are dancing in the aisles, just not like how they danced for a certain Sachin Tendulkar 16 years ago. KKR are 63/1 off 10 overs.
20:42 (IST): Strategic time-out over and Anderson back in the attack.
20:39 (IST): Both spinners in operation now and this could be a challenge for the Knight Riders. Harbhajan and Ojha are world class bowlers and with KKR desperate for some early runs, Mumbai Indians will be eyeing some breakthroughs here. But the good thing for KKR is that Kallis is also looking to take on the attack now. 50 up for KKR. It's 54/1 (9 overs)
20:34 (IST): Harbhajan Singh into the attack - will Pandey take his chances against the offie or will he let Kallis use his experience to deal with the India discard? It has been a slow start for KKR, so they need to get going now that the powerplay is over. Pandey breaks the shackles and gets a four off the last delivery. KKR 37/1 (7 overs).
20:26 (IST): Commentator Rameez Raja is pretty impressed with Manish Pandey. He has looked sharp and engaged, says Raja on air as the Karnataka batsman tries to steady the KKR innings with some hints of aggression. Kallis, at the other end, will look to just bide his time and drop anchor. This could be an interesting passage of play as KKR move to 28/1 after 5 overs.
20:21 (IST): Manish Pandey steps ahead to face Corey Anderson and gets a four on the leg-side through an unconventional-looking stroke. It's followed by a six straight down the pitch! KKR 20/1 (4 overs). 10 from the Anderson over.
20:18 (IST): The Kolkata Knight Riders are in a precarious position as of now after losing captain Gautam Gambhir early to a perfect Lasith Malinga yorker. Corey Anderson starts his first over. KKR 10/1 (3.1 overs).
20:14 (IST): This is the 400th match of the Indian Premier League and we have an amazing atmosphere at the ground in Abu Dhabi.
20:11 (IST): WICKET! A perfect yorker from Lasith Malinga leaves Gambhir bamboozled. Gautam Gambhir b Lasith Malinga 0. KKR 4/1 (1.4 overs).
20:07 (IST): Zaheer Khan bowls a terrific first over, conceding just one run off a wide. An LBW appeal goes begging on his last delivery, but it was just drifting away on the leg-side. Gautam Gambhir is lucky to survive. Lasith Malinga comes in to bowl now. KKR 1/0 (1 over).
20:03 (IST): Zaheer Khan will open the bowling for Mumbai Indians. Gautam Gambhir takes strike.
20:01 (IST): The players are making their way out on the field. The Mumbai Indians' players have formed a huddle to discuss their plans. Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis will open for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rohit Sharma (captain), Michael Hussey, Aditya Tare, Ambati Rayudu, Chidhambaram Gautam, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha
Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir (captain), Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, S Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Sunil Narine, Morne Morkel
19:35 (IST): Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir wins the toss and elects to bat first vs Mumbai Indians in the first game of IPL 7. Shakib Al Hasan, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine and Jacques Kallis are the four foreign players for Kolkata today. Gambhir says the main reason behind his decision to bat first was a strong Kolkata bowling attack, along with the presence of new youngsters in the team. Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said he wanted to bowl himself because he was not sure how the pitch would behave. They have gone in for five batsmen, two all-rounders and four bowlers in their team.
Ever since the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scandal broke last year, the world's most prosperous T20 championship lost a lot of its credibility. A series of court battles took the sheen off a glamorous competition. BCCI's president N Srinivasan was suspended after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was indicted by a Supreme Court-appointed probe panel for corruption. Sunil Gavaskar was appointed BCCI head to manage IPL affairs as the top court lost faith on Srinivasan.
In spite of the bitter court battles, the cricketing formalities continued. The auctions took place in February as players found new teams in the billion dollar championship. The common fan loves his cricket. On Wednesday night when defending champions Mumbai Indians clash with former champions Kolkata Knight Riders, nobody will talk about court orders and Srinivasan's dire straits. Cricket will emerge the overwhelming favourite.
19:13 (IST): Cricket's love-affair with Bollywood continued at the official gala dinner for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League at Abu Dhabi yesterday. MS Dhoni danced with Shah Rukh Khan, Shane Watson strummed the guitar, Virat Kohli performed a mock 'wedding' with a cut-out of good-friend Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone added spark to a glittering night. (Pics)
18:59 (IST): See what the Little Masters of the game were up to at the IPL Gala Dinner yesterday. Whether it be Mumbai Indians icon Sachin Tendulkar, former Indian cricketer Gundappa Viswanath or BCCI interim head Sunil Gavaskar, they were all in a mood to celebrate.
18:32 (IST): It will be interesting to see if Mumbai Indians play Aditya Tare as an opener along with Michael Hussey. Although Tare played only a few games for Mumbai in 2013, he showed almost every time that he belonged in the big league.
18:10 (IST): If Michael Hussey can fire as an opening batsman for Mumbai Indians, they may give us some of the biggest totals in the IPL once again, with explosive all-rounders like Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard waiting down the order. However, today it will be interesting to see how the Mumbai batsmen face Kolkata Knight Riders' mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, who has been extremely economical in all the editions of the tournament he has taken part in so far.
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Match 1, Abu Dhabi
The Mumbai Indians never managed to get their hands at the Indian Premier League trophy in five editions till 2012 despite being one of the most consistent teams in the tournament. However, all this changed in 2013 when they backed up their domestic performance and won both the IPL and the Champions League T20 tournaments, led by Indian opener Rohit Sharma. They will be eyeing a hat-trick of titles when the 2014 season kicks off in Dubai on Wednesday, bolstered by new players like Kiwi all-rounder Corey Anderson and former Australia great Michael Hussey. However, they will miss out on one of their key players and retired legend Sachin Tendulkar, who will monitor the team's progress as an 'icon' this season. (Read: Sachin will be sick of me by end of IPL 7, says Hussey)
The Kolkata Knight Riders have been one of the most unpredictable teams in the IPL so far despite winning the title in 2012. In 2013, they could not even make it to the playoffs and finished a dismal seventh in the (formerly) nine-team league. For this season, although they have retained valuable skipper Gautam Gambhir and mystery spinner Sunil Narine, they have also gone in for a lot of fresh faces, who are expected to bring in a lot more positivity in the dugout.
During the match, a lot will rest on the shoulders of experienced captains Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) and Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders). There are others who can turn the match around single-handedly among the likes of Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard (MI), and Robin Uthappa, Ryan ten Doeschate and Yusuf Pathan (KKR). Match-winning bowlers like Lasith Malinga and Sunil Narine will be figuring big on the batsmen's minds from both teams.
However, not only have the Mumbai Indians dominated the Kolkata Knight Riders in most of the IPL matches, they have also called the shots when it comes to winning the coin toss. On 9 out of 12 occasions these two teams have met, Mumbai Indians have won the toss.
Bowlers will win us matches: Gautam Gambhir
Don't be surprised if Kolkata Knight Riders unleash a battery of quick bowlers on defending Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians when the seventh edition of the T20 tournament starts in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Skipper Gautam Gambhir refuses to believe KKR is a team that relies on slow bowlers. Pace it will be, if KKR have to win a second championship crown, says the brave-heart KKR opener.
When KKR picked their players in the February auctions, there seemed to be a distinct design. Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel and Pat Cummins did one thing very well - bowl at express speed. Gambhir feels that the quickies will play a massive role if KKR have to do well this year, irrespective of where the tournament is being played. (Read more)
Sachin Tendulkar monitors Mumbai Indians' training ahead of opener
The Mumbai Indians (MI) players were buoyed by the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, who joined the team's training session in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as the high-profile franchise starts its Indian Premier League title defence against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. The MI players were overjoyed as Tendulkar, who reached here late Monday night, came in the team's practise outfit at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Having retired from all forms of the game after the Test series against West Indies ended on November 16 last year, Tendulkar seemed to be itching to have a hit in the nets. Mumbai Indians named Tendulkar as their "icon" recently and he will also do his bit to promote the franchise's cause of "Education for All". (Read more)
Gautam Gambhir on verge of several milestones
Kolkata Knight Rider captain Gautam Gambhir, who claims to be the perfect team man, is on the verge of a few personal milestones ahead of the Indian Premier League opener against Mumbai India in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Gambhir, who shares the record for most fifties with Chris Gayle, needs 29 runs more to aggregate 2500 in the tournament.
If Gambhir gets the required runs, he will join an exclusive club. Gambhir will become only the fourth batsman to total 2500-plus runs. Others are - Chennai Super Kings' Suresh Raina (2802), Rohit Sharma of Mumbai Indians (2513) and Royal Challengers Bangalore's Gayle with 2512. (Read more)
Corey Anderson needs medical clearance from NZ cricket before IPL debut
Corey Anderson will require clearance from New Zealand Cricket's medical staff before making his Indian Premier League debut, TVNZ reported on Wednesday.
The $866,000 all-rounder is preparing with his Mumbai Indians team in Abu Dhabi but won't play until New Zealand Cricket is satisfied he's recovered from the dislocated little finger suffered at the World Twenty20 on April 1. (Read more)
Don't underestimate Rohit Sharma as captain: John Wright
Heaping praise on Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma, coach John Wright said that the youngster was "one of most natural captains" and underestimating him as a leader would be a mistake. "Rohit is one of those guys who just jump into the role and fit into it like a glove," Wright said.
"His tactical decisions have been great, which is very important on the field. But leadership is all about performance, and Rohit has led the team from the front. He has done an outstanding job and I don't think he should be underestimated," he added. (Read more)