Mumbai: Leading from the front, skipper Gautam Gambhir smashed 59 off 45 balls to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to a challenging 174/5 in 20 overs against Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.
Put into bat, in-form openers Gambhir and Robin Uthappa (36) got KKR off to a flying start scoring 59 without losing any wickets after the completion of powerplay.
The home team missed a golden chance to dismiss the KKR skipper as pacer Mitchell McClenaghan dropped a skier off his own bowling in the powerplay, when the left-hander was batting at eight.
But veteran off-spinner Harbhajan brought the much needed breakthrough dismissing Uthappa in the eighth over to put brakes on the KKR run flow.
Incoming batsman Shakib Al Hasan (6) too departed cheaply without troubling the scorers much to have the visitors reduced to 77/2 in the ninth over.
Despite two quick wickets in the other end, Gambhir kept his cool and used his experience to best effect to help the team post 85/2 after 10 overs. He was well supported at the other end by Suryakumar Yadav (21).
Gambhir kept his good IPL form going as he struck yet another half-century in just 39 balls to keep KKR in the hunt for a massive total.
The 44-run partnership for the third wicket between Gambhir and Suryakumar came to an end when McClenaghan finally got the wicket of the KKR skipper to heave a huge sigh of relief.
Suryakumar, who was looking set to finish the game for KKR, returned to the pavilion cheaply as he was caught and bowled by Tim Southee in the 16th over. Kolkata were 130/4 then.
Later on, hard-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell (22 off 16) played a quick-fire knock before getting out in 18th over.
But the 19th over of the innings turned out to be an unlucky one for pacer McClenaghan as his teammate Southee dropped Yusuf Pathan and Chris Lynn in two successive balls to hand life to both batsmen.
From there on, Yusuf (19 not out) and Lynn (10 not out) remained unbeaten to take the team past the 170-run mark.
Southee (2-38) was the pick of the bowlers for Mumbai, while Harbhajan Singh, McClenaghan and Hardik Pandya claimed one wicket each.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 174/5 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 59; Tim Southee 2-38)