Morne Morkel picked up a wicket for the Kolkata Knight Riders but his side ultimately fell six runs short to the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, to leave the tournament wide open.
Despite the defeat, KKR are still in second in the standings, while the Mumbai Indians climbed into fourth. The merry-go-round is expected to continue however, as the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Royal Challenegers Bangalore have a game in hand. Net run rate is expected to have a big part to play come the end of the group phase.
KKR, who sent the side from Mumbai into bat, were looking to wrap up their spot in the top four. Morkel and Co did a good job of preventing the run rate from getting out of hand. It would be Shakib Al Hasan to claim the first scalp, removing the experienced Parthiv Patel for 21. Morkel then took his first and only victim on the night, removing Lendl Simmons a ball after the West Indian smacked the lanky Protea for six.
Skipper Rohit Sharma provided 31, but the rest of the work was then left to Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya. Unusually, Pollard had to provide the supporting role, as Pandya struck no less than ten boundaries to finish on a 31-ball 61. Pollard scored 33, as Mumbai posted 171-4.
The task was plain-sailing for KKR at first for a side renowned for their chasing abilities. Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir put together 45. Uthappa and Manish Pandey fell in quick succession, but Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan continued the assault with a quick 42-run stand.
It fell apart with the loss of Gambhir however, as the hosts staged a brilliant recovery, thanks largely to the work of pace duo Lasith Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan.
KKR needed 12 off the last over, but Pathan was going well on 52 and Kieron Pollard was asked to bowl his first over of the match. It was KKR’s to lose. Pollard forced Pathan to snick one behind on the very first ball however, before the West Indian all-rounder conceded just six more runs, for his side to pull off the thrilling six-run victory.