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Rohit, Anderson power Mumbai Indians to 168/3 at Eden
Kolkata, April 8: Riding on a brilliant unbeaten 98 by skipper Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians scored 168/3 against Kolkata Knight Riders in the eighth Indian Premier League opening game at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.
Put in to bat first, Mumbai overcame initial hiccups to set the Knights a challenging asking rate of 8.45 runs per over.
In trouble at 37/3 in the sixth over, MI took the battle into the opposition camp with the elegant Rohit (65b, 12×4, 4×6) stitching an unbeaten 131-run partnership with Corey Anderson 55 (41b, 4×4, 3×6) before a 50,000 plus crowd.
The Knights drew first blood in the second over when big hitting opener Aaron Finch 7 (7b 1×4) top edged, giving South African pacer Morne Morkel his first wicket.
Continuing his good run at the hallowed stadium where he had scored a record shattering 264 while playing for India in November, Rohit looked unfazed as he creamed Umesh Yadav for three boundaries, attracting loud cheers from the crowd.
The joy though was short-lived as wicket keeper-batsman Aditya Tare (7) perished in the deep trying to hit Sakib Al Hasan for a six in the fifth over.
Bowling a fiery spell, Morkel then removed Ambati Rayudu (0) in the next over as the visitors' innings seemed to be tottering.
Endeavouring to tighten their grip, Knight skipper Gautam Gambhir summoned his trump card Sunil Narine, who bowled with a remodelled action, and seemed to have settled down after conceding a four in his very first ball.
Joining hands with Corey Anderson, Rohit consolidated the innings taking Mumbai past 50 in the ninth over as Gambhir juggled around his bowlers.
Starting to cut loose, Rohit clobbered Yadav for 18 runs including a towering six to score his 22nd half century in the IPL and taking Mumbai past 100 in the 15th over.
As Anderson and Rohit upped the ante, the pressure on the home team was evident, and they spilled three catches. Anderson was the beneficiary twice.
Cutting and pulling with ease, Rohit was at his best as Kolkata bowlers struggled to contain the flow of runs.
For the hosts, Morkel was the pick of the bowlers with 2/18 while Shakib Al Hasan 1/48 was the other wicket taker.