Rohit ton breaks winning streak of KKR
Sharma entertained the packed Eden crowd with his 60-ball 109-run knock, studded with 17 boundaries including five sixes, while Gibbs made his Mumbai Indians debut in style with an unbeaten 66. The duo shared an unconquered 167-run second-wicket partnership to propel Mumbai Indians to 182 for one after winning the toss.
The total proved too much for Kolkata, who managed to score 155 for four, built around Jacques Kallis` superb 79 and Yusuf Pathan`s unbeaten 40. Sharma`s maiden IPL century was the season`s fourth century while his partnership with Gibbs was second only to David Warner and Naman Ojha`s 189-run stand for Delhi Daredevils against Deccan Chargers. The Knight Riders never really looked comfortable chasing the stiff total with their in-form skipper Gautam Gambhir dismissed in the first over.
The left-hander, who got a reprieve in the first delivery he faced, saw his middle stump shattered by a Munaf Patel ball when he tried to make room but missed the line. The hosts soon lost Manvinder Bisla (1) to be reduced to two for three in the second over. Manoj Tiwary (27) and Kallis looked to repair the damage but when their 57-run stand was broken, it dented their chase further.
The South African veteran stood tall in the Knight Riders chase and found a fine ally in Yusuf Pathan but it was not enough against the imposing target. Kallis and Pathan creamed Ojha for one six each as they collected 15 runs from the 12th over and another 13 runs in the next over off Dwyane Smith. Just when the Knight Riders looked to take charge, Malinga did a fine job by bowling tight and pushed the required run-rate close to 14.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians recovered brilliantly after the early loss of Tendulkar with Sharma in murderous mood while Gibbs played a good support role. Tendulkar had a forgettable outing after being dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan in the very second ball he faced. He was beaten by the spin as he had his back-foot in air to be stumped in the third over of the innings.
But the mighty blow hardly affected the Mumbai Indians with Gibbs and Sharma taking charge of the proceedings. In the very next over, Sharma pulled Lee for a six over square leg and followed it up with a boundary with a fine slice through third man.
Sharma smacked Shakib for 14 runs with two boundaries and a six over midwicket, something that set the tone for the evening. It was raining boundaries and sixes as the sizzling Sharma dominated the Knight Riders bowlers at ease with an array of copybook strokes. Sharma notched up his half-century in 29 balls and lofted Rajat Bhatia over his head to take Mumbai Indians past the 100-mark in 12 overs.
Gibbs, who had begun with smashing three boundaries of Lee, played a perfect fiddle and was happy giving the strikes to Sharma. The hosts tried their best to break the partnership by rotating the bowlers but with Sharma at his best it was of little use for the home side. The duo was also sensible in the approach as they negotiated mystery spinner Sunil Narine watchfully while attacking the other bowlers.
Sharma brought on his maiden IPL century with a fine flick of Lee, to get to the milestone in 52 balls. Such was the domination that the duo put the Knight Riders bowlers into submission with Lee returning the most expensive conceding 44 from his quota of four overs. Jacques Kallis and Rajat Bhatia were also sent to the cleaners giving away 10-plus runs from each over.