Abu Dhabi: Skipper Rohit Sharma's effortless batting formed the cornerstone of Mumbai Indians' resounding 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Wednesday.
On a big Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Rohit pummelled the KKR bowlers into submission with a 54-ball 80 and powered Mumbai to an imposing 195/5.
The night belonged to Rohit, the great white-ball exponent, whose knock was laced with six sixes and three fours.
Then the Jasprit Bumrah-led Mumbai attack did most things right to restrict KKR to 146/9 and end their winless streak in the UAE. They had lost all five games when the early part of IPL 2014 was held in the UAE and also went down to Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match on Saturday. However, the big win has lifted them to top place on net run rate, while KKR are lying at the bottom of the points table after the crushing defeat in their opener.
KKR were never on course as they lost openers Shubhman Gill (7) and Sunil Narine (9) cheaply to be in a spot at 25/2.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik (30 off 23) and Nitish Rana (24 off 18) tried to up the ante but they were still playing the catch-up game with 125 runs needed from the last 10 overs.
Kolkata were dealt a double blow in quick succession as first Karthik was trapped by Rahul Chahar (2/26) in front of the wicket and then Hardik Pandya grabbed a running catch on the fence to send back Rana off Kieron Pollard, who was playing his 150th IPL game for Mumbai.
Bumrah (2/32) sealed the game for Mumbai in the 16th over as he removed Andre Russell (11), who was bowled, and then forced Eoin Morgan (20) to edge one to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Pat Cummins (33 off 12) launched into Bumrah with four sixes in a very expensive 18th over, but it was too late for Kolkata, who failed to put up a contest. Bumrah went for 27 runs in his final over.
Pollard (1/21), Trent Boult (2/30), James Pattison (2/25 ) played their roles to perfection.
Earlier, put in to bat, after Shivam Mavi (2/32) removed opener de Kock (1) early, but Rohit (80 off 54 balls; 3 fours, 6 sixes) and Suryakumar Yadav (47 off 28; 6 fours, 1 six) added 90 runs for the second wicket to pull the team out of trouble.
Rohit, who began with a maximum, displayed his languid grace and elegance as he took the Kolkata attack to the cleansers.
Yadav effortlessly smashed four boundaries off Sandeep Warrier (0/34), including a cover-drive and a flick, in the third over.
Rohit got going after smashing pacer Cummins (0/49) for two maximums - both off his trademark pull-shot. With the two looking good and hitting sixes and fours at will, Mumbai raced to 94/1 after 10 overs.
Kolkata, however, cut short Yadav's stay when he was run out.
Rohit continued his brutal onslaught against chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (0/39), smashing him for two maximums.
Saurabh Tiwary (21) and Hardik (18) played perfect second fiddle to Rohit, who literally bulldozed the opposition bowlers.
Kolkata tried to pull things back by removing Rohit and Hardik in quick succession even as Mumbai added 48 runs in the last five overs.