De Kock stars as Morgan suffers defeat in first match as Kolkata captain

Abu Dhabi (AFP) –


South African captain Quinton de Kock scored a brilliant unbeaten 78 Friday as Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians inflicted a crushing defeat on England counterpart Eoin Morgan in his first game leading Kolkata Knight Riders.

Morgan, who took over after Dinesh Karthik quit just hours before the game, won the toss but nothing else.

He saw his batsmen and bowlers hammered by Mumbai, whose eight-wicket win -- a fifth straight victory -- put them back level with Delhi Capitals at the top of the IPL standings.

De Kock hit three sixes and nine fours in a 44-ball demolition of the Kolkata bowlers, as Mumbai made 149-2 in just 16.5 overs to overtake their rivals' 148-5 off 20 overs.

Ironically, wicketkeeper de Kock dropped Pat Cummins in the penultimate over of the Kolkata innings.

Cummins and Morgan hit 35 runs off the final 12 balls to give a semblance of respectability to the score.

Fast bowler Cummins hit his first T20 half century.

His 53 included two sixes and five fours. Morgan made 39, with two sixes and a four in the last six balls.

It only partially made up for a disastrous performance by Kolkata's leading batsmen.

The Australia-England partnership came together with their team in dire trouble at 61-5.

Despite their runs, Morgan knows he faces a tough task putting life back into big-spending Kolkata.

Cummins is the most expensive foreigner in the league with a $2.8 million contract but has taken only two wickets in eight matches and conceded another 28 runs to Mumbai.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma (35) and de Kock tore into the target from the first ball, which Sharma hit for a four. The pair put on 94 for the first wicket.

Sharma said he was happy to take a "backseat" and let de Kock "bat free".

"He likes to take it to the bowlers," said the India opener.

"It gives us a lot of confidence," said Sharma of the win. "Clinical with the ball, clinical with the bat, the overall performance that we expected was there."

Sharma said that after a six-month pandemic layoff the whole team was "very hungry and they want to prove a point."

The IPL has been moved to the United Arab Emirates because of the coronavirus crisis.

Dehli Capitals get a chance to reclaim top spot alone when they take on Chennai Super Kings in one of two games Saturday.