Premier pacer Pat Cummins shone with the bat like never before, equalling the record for the fastest fifty in the IPL, including amassing 35 in an over, as Kolkata Knight Riders crushed Mumbai Indians by five wickets here on Wednesday.
Cummins blazed away to his fifty in just 14 balls, joining KL Rahul on the top of the leaderboard, while opener Venkatesh Iyer batted through the innings for his unbeaten 41-ball 50, as KKR completed a chase of 162 with as many as four overs to spare.
It was unbelievable stuff from Cummins as KKR, needing 35 from 30 balls, got them all in just six deliveries with the Australian Test captain hitting six sixes and four boundaries in his 15-ball 56.
Daniel Sams bore the brunt of Cummins’ onslaught the most, conceding 35 runs in the 16th over, which sealed it for KKR.
Together with Iyer, Cummins, who came in at number six, shared 61 runs in just 2.1 overs to overhaul MI’s total of 161 for four.
MI, thus, slumped to their third defeat in as many matches.
KKR made a sedate start reaching 16 off the first four overs. The wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Shreyas Iyer made life difficult for KKR as they slumped to 35 for two in the sixth over.
Sam Billings made 17 off 12 balls before he dismissed by Murugam Ashwin.
Iyer, on the other hand, went about his business in his own way and kept the scoreboard ticking.
While Iyer stood firm at one end, wickets kept tumbling from the other as Nitish Rana failed once again, caught at deep midwicket by Sams off Ashwin.
Andre Russell played a five-ball 11-run knock before he left Iyer stranded, top-edging a Tymal Mills short delivery to Dewald Brevis.
Cummins then took the attack to the opposition and struck Mills for a boundary and a six of consecutive balls.
Having conceded 23 runs in the final over when MI batted, Cummins clobbered the MI bowlers to all parts of the ground to take KKR home in a grand fashion.
Earlier, veteran Kieron Pollard complemented Suryakumar Yadav’s brisk half-century by amassing 23 runs in the last over to propel MI after KKR kept things tight for a major part of their innings.
After an 83-run fourth-wicket stand between Suryakumar Yadav (52) and Tilak Varma (38 not out), Pollard (22 not out) smashed the world’s premier fast bowler Pat Cummins for three sixes to end MI’s innings on a high.
Opting to bowl first on a fresh pitch with plenty of grass, KKR’s opening bowlers used the conditions to perfection as pacer Umesh Yadav (1/25) and debutant Rasikh Salam (0/18) relied on back of length deliveries to trouble MI’s opening duo of skipper Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan.
Umesh and Cummins (2/49) picked up early wickets to reduce MI to 55 for three.
Umesh looked more threatening of the two as he consistently tested the high-profile MI opening batters with his probing length, producing a fantastic first over which yielded just one run.
Salam tried to match his senior pro.
Umesh struck first blood in the third over with a back-of-length delivery to get Rohit for the fifth time in IPL, with the MI skipper failing to control a pull.
Then came another debutant Dewald Brevis (29), known as ‘Baby AB’ for his 360 degree shot-making abilities, and he tried to attack the KKR bowlers.
He succeeded in his endeavour for a brief period, hitting two fours and as many sixes, but fell to Varun Chakravarthy (1/32).
All this while, MI’s man-in-form Ishan Kishan (14 off 21) was a quiet spectator at the other end.
Unlike his last two innings, Kishan seemed to be struggling from the onset and a poor start didn’t help his cause either.
Kishan’s struggle came to an end in the 11th over when he miscued a pull off Cummins to KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer.
Varma got a reprieve in the 13th over when Ajinkya Rahane spooned him after a confusion with Billings.
Yadav struck a four and a huge six in the final two deliveries of the same over to give MI’s innings some momentum.
Varma grabbed the missed chance with both hand and scooped Cummins over fine leg for a maximum and then followed it with a slash over mid-wicket for a boundary off Chakravarthy.
Yadav, on the other hand, looked in ominous form after returning from injury, dealing mostly in fours and sixes to notch up his fifty in 34 balls.
Mumbai Indians: 161/4 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 52, Tilak Varma ; Pat Cummins 2/49, Umesh Yadav 1/25).
Kolkata Knight Riders: 162/5 in 16 overs (Venkatesh Iyer 50 not out, Pat Cummins 56 not out 56; Murugan Ashwin 2/25).