8th April 2015! The grandest sporting stadium in India – The Eden Gardens, Kolkata kicked off the 8th season of Indian Premier League in style with its home side, the defending champion, defeated one of the strongest teams in the competition with ease. Kolkata Knight Riders won by 7 wickets against Mumbai Indians, the blue team eventually had the last laugh when they lifted the IPL trophy sometime later.
The opening match was not a spectacular affair until Rohit Sharma decided to add sparkle. KKR captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss and chose to bowl first. The formula was set, strangle the opposition first and then chase it with the variety of batting at exposure. Everything went according to the plan for Kolkata that night.
While Umesh Yadav proved expensive at the other end, tall and gentle Morne Morkel kept the MI batsmen under a tight leash. Morkel bowled his all four overs on the trot and finished up with the bowling figures of 4-1-18-2. At that point, Mumbai Indians were languishing at 48/2 after eight overs and there was no respite.
Sunil Narine started bowling from the other end. He along with Piyush Chawla did not let Mumbai Indians break free. The tension reached its peak at the end of 14 overs when MI was only 80/3 with 6 overs remaining. It was then Rohit decided to bring out his demolishing batting persona.
In the next 36 balls, Rohit Sharma and Corey Anderson amassed 88 runs to take the final tally to 168/3. In the final assault, Rohit scored 52 runs in only 20 balls, continuing his love affair with Eden Gardens. The target was not going to be easy for Kolkata but Mumbai helped.
Mumbai keeper Tare dropped Gambhir early in the match. Corey Anderson dropped the other opener Robin Uthappa. Gambhir’s drop proved costly as he compiled a 57(43) that guided the chase from one end. He and Manish Pandey took KKR to a position where its power-hitters Yusuf Pathan and Surya Kumar Yadav could express themselves freely.
Hitting five sixes in the only 20 balls that he faced, Surya Kumar Yadav was particularly lethal against his home city team. The knock took Kolkata past Mumbai Indians with 9 balls remaining. The Knight riders started their IPL journey with a win while Mumbai returned empty-handed.