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Indians finally taste victory

Dwayne Bravo's 64 paved the way for the Mumbai Indians to record their first victory of the Indian Premier League with a 7 wicket success over the Kolkata Knight Riders.

The Mumbai team, mired with controversy surrounding Harbhajan Singh , put out Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets at the Eden Gardens to score their first win in five matches.

The Kolkata team suffered its second straight loss, after scoring two successive wins.

Chasing a modest 138 to win, Mumbai were reduced to 25 for three in the fifth over before a 113-run fourth-wicket partnership between Bravo and Robin Uthappa (37 not out) sealed them a win.

Bravo's 53-ball knock contained eight boundaries and a huge six and ensured Mumbai's win with eight balls to spare.

Ajit Agarkar , Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda took a wicket each for the Knight Riders, but the home team's total was too paltry in the final analysis.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians' veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Shaun Pollock stole the limelight, wrecking the top and middle order of the Kolkata Knight Riders, to restrict the hosts to a modest 137 for 8.

The crafty Jayasuriya displayed variation in bowling and stuck to a tight line to finish 4-1-14-3, a dream figure in the Twenty20 format of the game, as the Mumbai Indians were set an asking rate of 6.9 by the Knight Riders before a crowd of 80,000 at the Eden Gardens.

Pollock (2 for 27), standing in as captain in place of the injured Sachin Tendulkar , did the early damage removing openers Sourav Ganguly (4) and Brendon McCullum (2) in the first over on a pitch that looked sporting in sharp contrast to the two-paced dry wicket that had been universally condemned nine days back.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla (40 not out; 4x4, 2x6) emerged the top scorer, with a late assault which somewhat retrieved the situation for the Knight Riders, after they elected to bat first.

Skipper Ganguly's run drought continued as he departed in the third ball of the match, edging an away going delivery to Jayasuriya after having tentatively pulled Pollock to the fence in the previous delivery.

The Knight Riders suffered another setback two deliveries later, when McCullum was trapped leg before by the former South African captain, and the city side were reduced to 6 for 2.

Young Debabrata Das, playing his first match of the tournament after being included in place of Wriddhiman Saha, set about to undo the damage in the company of Australia skipper Ricky Ponting as the two put on 34 runs for the third wicket.

The 21-year-old Das switched to a counter-attack mode to ease the early pressure, dispatching Ashish Nehra for back-to-back fours in the second over, before hoisting Pollock over the mid-wicket ropes.

The Bengal batsman seemed on a roll picking up two more boundaries as Dilhara Fernando joined the bowling operation in the fourth over, while the seasoned Ponting rotated strike.

Das' 20-ball cameo came to an end when he played a short offering from West Indies medium pacer Dwayne Bravo straight into the hands of Robin Uthappa at cover. Das (29) hit five fours and a six.

Ponting (19) and David Hussey (17) then came together and took the side to 60 for 3 at the half-way stage on way to stitch together another 34-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

But there followed a mid-order collapse as the Knight Riders lost three wickets in the space of three runs. First, Hussey was devoured by Jayasuriya; then Ponting set off for a non-existent run and began his long walk back to the pavilion to wrap up his participation in this edition of the IPL.

To make matters worse, Mohammed Hafeez (2) edged Jayasuriya behind the wicket, as the Knight Riders were reduced to 77 for 6.

Ajit Agarkar (2) also did not last long, as a stunned silence descended at the large stadium.

source - rediff.com
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