Top performer: Rohit leads from the front

Rohit Sharma led from the front with the bat with a magnificent half-century to propel the Mumbai Indians to a thumping 49 run victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday, September 23.

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Put into bat, it was Rohit at his dominant best as he took the attack to the KKR bowlers right from the outset.

He slashed pacer Sandeep Warrier for a six over point in the very first over, to make his intentions clear.

Rohit knew that Mumbai needed a huge total to challenge the power-packed KKR batting line-up and he took the responsibility upon himself to do the bulk of the scoring.

Quinton de Kock’s early dismissal was a blow, but Rohit in Suryakumar Yadav’s company launched a superb counter-attack to rally Mumbai.

Yadav seized the initiative with four boundaries off Sandeep Warrier in the third over but it was Rohit, who left KKR deflated, as he targetted their top bowler Pat Cummins.

Rohit pulled the Australian pacer over midwicket for a couple of sixes in his first over to dent his confidence big time and he never really recovered from that early onslaught.

KKR bowlers made the mistake of bowling too many short balls to Rohit, who kept despatching it over the leg side with ease, as he smashed Andre Russell for a four and a six, in the seventh over.

The spinners — Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav — threatened to build some pressure with a few tight overs but there was no stopping Rohit.

The MI captain, who raced to his fifty from 39 balls, then took Kuldeep to the cleaners with two sixes in his fourth over which also helped him bring up the landmark of 200 sixes in the IPL.

When he was finally dismissed after a magnificent 80 from 54 balls, inclusive of six sixes and three fours, he ensured that he had done enough to help Mumbai Indians post a massive 195/5 in their 20 overs.

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