Kolkata: A classy century studded with dazzling strokes by Rohit Sharma, with able support from veteran Herschelle Gibbs, powered Mumbai Indians to an imposing 182 for one against Kolkata Knight Riders in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Eden Gardens Saturday.
Gibbs 66 (58b, 4×7, 6×2) played the perfect foil to Sharma 109 (59b, 4×12,6×5) as the latter carted the bowlers all round hitting boundaries at will. The duo remained unbeaten stitching together an unbroken partnership of 167 runs for the second wicket in 17.4 overs.
Looking ominous from the onset, Sharma hammered the bowlers all around the park reaching his fifty in just 29 balls and got to the magical three figures of 52 deliveries in the 17th over.
Opening with the veteran pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Gibbs, Mumbai suffered a big jolt losing the maestro in the third over.
Sachin (2) who had the stadium roaring after he came out to bat got stumped off a turner from Shakib Al Hasan with the score on 15. A deafening silence fell across the stadium when the giant screen flashed ‘out’ signalling Tendulkar’s departure. The crowd, realising it could well be one of the last appearances of the little master on the historic ground, rose in ovation as the maestro took the long walk back.
Rohit Sharma then joined joined the South African and the two played some classy shots to take their team to 50 in the seventh over.
Sharma and Gibbs took the score past 100 in the 12th over and looked determined to post an imposing total as Gambhir continued to juggle his bowlers in the search of an elusive wicket.
The pair scored 106 runs of the last 10 overs with 50 of them coming in the last 5 overs.
Barring Shakib (1/27) all the Kolkata bowlers looked off colour. Even West Indian Sunil Narine (0/28), who has been tormenting batsmen with his spin and guile failed to make much of an impact on the rampaging Mumbai batters. Brett Lee (0/44) was the most expensive bowler.
Mumbai Indians have an overwhelming head-to-head record against the Knight Riders, winning seven out of eight games.