Abu Dhabi: The seventh Indian Premier League (IPL) kicked off here today with an emphatic 41-run win for Kolkata Knight Riders over Mumbai Indians, as the evergreen Jacques Kallis set the tone with a 46-ball 72 before Sunil Narine completed the task with four wickets.
Opting to bat, KKR rode on Kallis and Manish Pandey's 64 to post a competitive 163 for five, before restricting Mumbai Indians to 122 for seven at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, with Narine returning match-winning figures of 4/20.
KKR's innings was built on a 131-run second-wicket partnership between Kallis and Pandey.
Pace spearhead Lasith Malinga was the pick of Mumbai bowlers, finishing with figures of 4/23. But the Lankan slinger's effort was not enough, and neither was Ambati Rayudu's 40-ball 48.
After Kallis and Pandey's exploits with the bat, Morne Morkel and Narine showed KKR the way with the ball. While Morkel had an economical figures of 1/16, with just two runs coming off his first two overs, Narine picked up four for 20.
Mumbai were off to a subdued start with Morkel not allowing an inch to free their arms. The tall South African pacer was bowling to such an impeccable line and length that even the experienced Michael Hussey had no answer.
The first breakthrough, though, was affected by Narine, who sneaked one through the bat and pad of Hussey. It was a strong comeback by Narine after the Trinidadian's second ball was deposited into the crowd by Aditya Tare (24).
Spin was introduced from both ends early into Mumbai innings. Jacques Kallis was handed the ball after Mumbai managed only 32 in the first powerplay.
Hussey's departure brought Ambati Rayudu in the middle and giving him company was Tare, who was on the lookout for quick runs.
However, with pressure building up, Tare succumbed when he gave a high return catch to Shakib Al Hasan who held on to it after a fumble.
There was a partnership of 61 runs for the third wicket between Rohit Sharma and Rayudu. But the two fell in quick succession and after that the task was beyond for even the ever-dangerous Kieron Pollard.