Mumbai’s Quinton de Kock

BOWLER’S NIGHTMARE: Mumbai’s Quinton de Kock struck nine fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 78 yesterday. —Photo courtesy BCCI

Eoin Morgan’s tenure as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain got off to a losing start as Quinton de Kock powered Mumbai Indians to an eight-wicket victory yesterday that saw them leapfrog Delhi Capitals at the top of the Indian Premier League.

Morgan—who has taken over as KKR skipper from Dinesh Karthik—hit an unbeaten 39 from 29 balls in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 87 with Pat Cummins (53 n.o. off 36) as Kolkata rallied from 61-5 to post 148-5.

However, De Kock (78 n.o. off 44) thumped a 25-ball fifty—his third in his last four innings—in a 94-run partnership with fellow opener Rohit Sharma (35) and Mumbai swept to their target with 19 balls to spare in Abu Dhabi to record a fifth straight win.

Hardik Pandya (21 n.o. off 11) blazed Cummins for three boundaries in four balls in the 16th over and then completed a comprehensive win in the next as Mumbai moved ahead of Delhi at the IPL summit on net run-rate.

Back-to-back defeats for KKR—they were trounced by Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday—have left them four points adrift of the top two in fourth place, with a top-order collapse proving costly against Mumbai.

KKR were 42-3 when Morgan strode to the wicket, which became 42-4 next ball when Mumbai leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (2-18) had Karthik bowled on the sweep to tee up a potential hat-trick.

Andre Russell denied Chahar that achievement but, after slamming a four and a six, the Jamaican was bounced out by Jasprit Bumrah (1-22) as Mumbai took complete control of the innings.

KKR did go on to post a total that looked set to challenge Mumbai, with Australia star Cummins completing a maiden T20 fifty after being dropped by wicketkeeper De Kock on 36 and Morgan cracking two sixes in Nathan Coulter-Nile’s 21-run final over.

Yet the chase proved routine for Rohit’s men, with De Kock atoning for his error in the field by striking nine fours and three sixes. Rohit was dismissed in the 11th over, snicking Shivam Mavi behind a ball after smoking the young seamer over cover for his sixth and final boundary.

Suryakumar Yadav (10) then swept Varun Chakravarthy onto his stumps in the 14th over for a run-a-ball 10 but there would be no wobble, with De Kock and Pandya ensuring Mumbai won at a canter.

Suryakumar was skittish with the bat but did produce a moment of magic in the field, with his stunning catch at backward point to remove Rahul Tripathi bagging Mumbai their first wicket of the evening.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Spots in the West Indies Under-19 squad for next year’s ICC Youth World Cup, to be staged in the Caribbean, will be up for grabs as the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) hosts a series Under-19 trial matches at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, starting today.

Not even a miserly spell from veteran West Indies all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, could save Chennai Super Kings from a seven-wicket defeat to Shimron Hetmyer’s Delhi Capitals in the second game of the Indian Premier League here yesterday.

STANDOUT Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Dylan Carter finished third in the Men’s 50 metres freestyle B final when the TYR Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, California continued yesterday.

THE Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has recognised the contribution of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago’s (SporTT) contribution to the recent Super50 Cup success of the T&T Red Force.

Opener Mohammad Rizwan smashed an unbeaten half-century to lead Pakistan to a nail-biting four-wicket victory over inexperienced South Africa in the first Twenty20 International at The Wanderers yesterday.

West Indies rookies Joshua Da Silva and Kyle Mayers were both satisfied with their performances in the recent Test matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and with a few months before South Africa tours the Caribbean in June, the pair are focused on improving their game.