KOLKATA: Half centuries from skipper Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey lifted Kolkata Knight Riders to 187 for five against Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League T20 cricket match here today.
Gambhir led by example with 64 from 52 balls (4x4, 1x6) and the skipper got fine support from talented youngster Pandey, who scored a rollicking 52 from 29 balls, to get the momentum going with a 100-run partnership from just 60 balls at Eden Gardens.
After Pandey's departure, Andre Russell played a nice cameo, scoring 36 from 17 balls, which was studded with four sixes and one four as KKR, at 163/2 in 17 overs, looked on course for a 200-plus total. But the Knights could manage just 24 runs and lost three wickets in last three overs as MI pulled things back.
It was the Mumbai Indians fielding that severely let them down as Gambhir got reprieves twice, on 30 and 55, and their bowling struggled to give breakthroughs.
On a pitch that looked perfect for batting, Mumbai Indians put Kolkata Knight Riders who were off to a watchful start with six runs from two overs, but the opening pair of Gambhir and Uthappa quickly changed gear smashing Tim Southeefor 13 runs in the third over.
McClenaghan gave the breakthrough in the next over with Uthappa (8) mistiming one to be easily taken by Kieron Pollard, but Mumbai Indians could not pull back from there on with some ordinary bowling down the leg.
Gambhir smashed Southee for successive boundaries in the next over and Pandey also got into the act picking up length eaisly and displaying some exquisite stroke-making.
Nothing going in their way, Gambhir was dropped on 30 by Rohit Sharma with the ball going through the skipper's hands in Jagadeesha Suchith's first over and KKR never looked back.
MI's spin duo of Suchith and Harbhajan Singh struggled to get their act together and sloppy fielding only aided the home side as Pandey smashed some big sixes.
Pandey raced to his half century in 26 balls, while Gambhir was a little slower notching the mark in 39 balls as he also got a second reprieve when Jasprit Bumrah dropped him on 55 off his own bowling, putting down a regulation catch.
Earlier Mumbai Indians made three changes to their XI that lost by nine wickets to debutants Pune Supergiants by bringing in Tim Southee, J Suchith and Parthiv Patel in place of Lendl Simmons, R Vinay Kumar and Shreyas Gopal.
Kolkata Knight Riders opted to give Sunil Narine rest after joining the team last night as they picked Kuldeep Yadav in place of Umesh Yadav, making it a three-spin line-up with Brad Hogg and Piyush Chawla.