It was a real test for English batsman Eoin Morgan as he was pushed to brace up a sudden change after the baton of captaincy was handed over to him and as he faced one of the triumphing teams Mumbai Indians as the captain of KKR on Friday at Abu Dhabi. Since Morgan would be the captain for the rest of the reason, he strongly eyed to pass the test.
The contest between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders is always interesting because both the teams never give up till the last ball of the game. Mumbai Indians, one of the very strong teams in this series wanted to maintain their winning streak and get into the number one position again. KKR won the toss and decided to bat first. Much was expected from Morgan and his boys with the bat.
Things didn't fall in place for the KKR right from the start as they lost the wickets of their leading batsmen back to back. Out of their top 5 batsmen, only Shubman Gill scored a decent 21 runs. At one stage, they were really struggling after MI bowlers collapsed KKR's batting line-up with Morgan's fleet lost 5 wickets for just 61 runs.
It was captain Morgan and Pat Cummins who did the damage control with their wonderful partnership. Cummins was aggressive while Morgan was steady. Both of them were unbeaten till the end with Cummins scoring 53 runs and Morgan scoring 39 runs. The partnership had taken KKR to a respectable total of 148 runs in the end.
For Mumbai Indians, 149 was a very easy target. As expected, they were very comfortable in their chase with their opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock putting up a sensational partnership of 94 runs. They were scoring at a really quick pace as if the target is above 200. With Rohit falling for 35, de Kock scored his brilliant half-century.
Though things slowed down a bit in the middle overs, it didn't go out of control as the hitman's army had the battle completely under their control. Mumbai Indians comfortably won the match by 8 wickets with 3 overs to spare and attained the top spot again in the points table. While Rahul Chahar was their star in the bowling with two wickets, it was Quinton de Kock with the bat scoring an unbeaten 78 runs. This was more of a one-sided game without the usual twists and turns.
Mumbai has elevated to the top spot after registering five consecutive victories and with the pacing victories, Mumbai Indians had largely increased the possibilities of reserving the berth in the playoffs. MI had played eight matches of which it had won six while KKR had managed to retain their fourth spot as out of eight games, they had won four matches.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony after losing his test, KKR's new skipper Eoin Morgan said that losing early wickets did not help their cause. He said, "Being four and five down early really cost us, we managed to get a score on the board, but when Mumbai come out and play like that it's difficult to stop the momentum and full credit to them, they played really well and we have got a lot of lessons to learn, particularly with the bat today".
On Friday, Dinesh Karthik had handed over the captaincy to Eoin Morgan and the former has informed the team management that with a view to focus on his batting and contributing more to the team's cause, he wishes to hand over the captaincy to Eoin Morgan. At the current state, Eoin Morgan is the third overseas player to captain the IPL team after Aussies David Warner and Steve Smith, who are captaining Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals respectively.