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On This Day (Apr. 16): Venkatesh Iyer Ends 15-Year Wait for KKR Hundred as Mumbai Clinch Thriller

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Young Guns take centre stage: Iyer's ton vs Kishan's blitz lights up Wankhede

On this day, April 16, 2023, the IPL witnessed a night of milestones and contrasting fifties at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Ishan Kishan's power-packed assault in the powerplay laid the foundation for the Mumbai Indians' victory, while Venkatesh Iyer, with a fighting century, ended a decade-and-a-half-long wait for a KKR batsman to score a three-figure IPL score.

Venkatesh ends KKR's century famine

KKR's innings started shakily, but then came Venkatesh Iyer, a man on a mission. He threw caution to the wind, taking the Mumbai attack head-on. Boundaries rained as he launched into debutant Arjun Tendulkar and the experienced Cameron Green, reaching 19 off just eight balls.

Iyer wasn't the most elegant striker, often getting into awkward positions. Yet his sheer determination and power-hitting kept the scoreboard ticking. He even enjoyed a slice of luck with a couple of inside edges racing away for fours. A fifty-two off just 23 balls announced his arrival, and sixes off Riley Meredith and debutant Duan Jansen kept the momentum going.

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Maiden IPL ton for Venkatesh Iyer

While Iyer looked unstoppable at times, Mumbai's bowlers tightened the screws in the middle overs. The wait for his century stretched, but finally, in the 17th over, he reached the coveted three figures with a wide grin, acknowledging the applause from the crowd. His dismissal soon after, caught on 104, couldn't overshadow a knock that single-handedly propelled KKR to a respectable 185.

Chawla spins a web, Mumbai fight back

Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav, Mumbai's stand-in captain, opted to bowl first. Debutant Arjun Tendulkar, son of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, impressed with his two economical new-ball overs. The spinners, especially Piyush Chawla, played a crucial role in curbing the run flow after Iyer's onslaught. Chawla's dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and the wicket of Nitish Rana, dismissed by his state teammate Shokeen, pegged KKR back.

Shokeen continued his good work, removing Shardul Thakur and Rinku Singh, ensuring KKR couldn't capitalise on Iyer's heroics. The asking rate climbed, but Russell's quickfire 21 not out propelled them to a fighting total.

Kishan's powerplay blitz sets the tone

Chasing 186, Mumbai got off to a flying start thanks to Ishan Kishan. While Rohit Sharma, playing as an impact player due to a stomach bug, took time to settle, Kishan was on fire. He tore into the KKR bowling attack, particularly punishing Shardul Thakur with boundaries through the off-side. A fifty-off just 21 balls showcased his destructive power.

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Ishan Kishan smashing the ball for a boundary

Sadly, his dismissal soon after couldn't dampen Mumbai's spirits. The platform was set, and the partnership between Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav took the game further away from KKR.

They played cautiously against spin but unleashed some vintage shots against pace, picking off Andre Russell for 17 runs in a single over. Their 60-run stand in quick time sealed the fate of the match. Tim David's quickfire cameo at the end ensured Mumbai crossed the finish line with 14 balls to spare.

A night of milestones and controversy

The match wasn't without its share of drama. Nitish Rana and Hrithik Shokeen, state teammates for Delhi, exchanged heated words after Rana's dismissal, leading to fines for both players. Suryakumar Yadav was also fined for Mumbai's slow overrate.

Despite the controversy, the night belonged to the two young Indians—Venkatesh Iyer, who broke a long-standing record for KKR, and Ishan Kishan, whose power-packed knock set the tone for Mumbai's victory.