Sharma shines for Mumbai as Chennai also win
Rohit Sharma scored 109 as Mumbai Indians beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs while Chennai Super Kings scored an easy nine-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Sharma's century off 60 balls was part of an unbroken 167-run stand with Herschelle Gibbs (66) for Mumbai to reach an impressive 182-1 after electing to bat at Eden Gardens. Kolkata managed 155-4 in reply.
Sharma, who came in to bat after Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal in the third over, was in the groove straight away by pulling speedster Brett Lee for a six over the square-leg boundary.
He exhibited several fine shots square of the wicket on either side, smashing seamer Rajat Bhatia for 19 in an over. He totaled five sixes and 12 fours in his maiden IPL century and dominated the partnership with Gibbs, who hit two sixes and seven fours in his first IPL appearance this season.
"There was no game plan, I just wanted to go out there and spend some time, which is what usually helps," Sharma said. "I wanted to bat 20 overs as we were batting first and wanted to get a decent target. We knew the pitch was quite slow."
Kolkata's reply featured Jacques Kallis (79) and Yusuf Pathan (40 not out) keeping the home side in the hunt.
Pace bowler Munaf Patel bowled captain Gautam Gambhir with a slower delivery for a duck. After opener Manvinder Bisla fell for 1 to left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha to make it 3-2 in the second over, Kolkata always faced a stiff challenge.
Kallis added 57 for the third wicket with Manoj Tiwary (27), but some tight bowling by the Mumbai bowlers denied them the chance to have a good shot at the target.
Kallis struck three sixes and seven boundaries in 60 balls, while Pathan cracked a six and two fours in 31.
Mumbai climbed to third place in the standings with eight wins and five losses. Kolkata was second with eight wins, four losses and one no-result.
At Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Australia pace bowler Ben Hilfenhaus accounted for the top three batsmen - David Warner, captain Virender Sehwag and Naman Ojha - as Delhi was restricted to a low 114-5 on a slow pitch.
Two-time defending champion Chennai got to the target with ease as openers Murali Vijay (48 not out) and Mike Hussey (38) made 75 together.
Chennai is fourth with seven wins, six losses and a no-result from 14 games, while Delhi remains on top with nine wins and fours losses from 13.