Rohit’s dazzling 109 not out off just 60 balls left Kolkata with a daunting target of 183 and they could only manage 155 for four.
As much as Rohit’s innings took the match away from the Knight Riders, the Mumbai bowlers were all disciplined and accurate, with the batsmen particularly unable to crack the code of Lasith Malinga (4-0-27-0) and Kieron Pollard (4-0-29-1).
Kolkata also got off to the worst of starts as they crashed to three for two in the second over.
Munaf Patel picked up the key wicket of Gautam Gambhir when he bowled him for a duck, while Manvinder Bisla (1) top-edged a slog-sweep off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and was caught by Munaf.
The innings obviously needed rebuilding, but the steady increase of the required run-rate was also a major problem for the Knight Riders.
Jacques Kallis, being the great professional that he is, refused to give in, however, as fought valiantly for his 79 off 60 balls. But, on a slow pitch and against a softening ball, he was unable to reproduce the explosiveness of Rohit and was forced to attempt various innovations he would barely have tried in practice.
Kallis shared a partnership of 57 in 8.2 overs with Manoj Tiwary (27), which lifted Kolkata’s hopes but ultimately he and Yusuf Pathan were left with too much to do at the end.
Malinga’s incredible ability to find the blockhole prescribes that batsmen are limited to ones and twos against him and Pollard also ensured that there would be no late dramatics as he trapped Tiwary lbw and bowled two overs for 11 runs at the death.
Pathan produced an innings of 40 not out off 31 balls that was a welcome relief to him individually after a wretched run of form but not nearly enough to change the news that Mumbai have now jumped into third place on the log.
With Rohit in prime form and Herschelle Gibbs back to form a dangerous opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai now have the batting to back up their powerful bowling attack and must be considered one of the favourites for the title.
Mumbai will also be delighted with their all-round bowling effort as pace bowlers Munaf (4-0-32-1) and Dwayne Smith (4-0-32-1) backed up Malinga and Pollard well.
The brilliance of Rohit carried the Mumbai Indians to a daunting 182 for one as he played one of the innings of the tournament as he belted his highest T20 score. The 25-year-old’s tremendous talent was obvious as he stroked 12 fours and five sixes.
The match also marked the return of Gibbs to IPL action and the veteran scored a well-considered 66 not off 58 balls, playing the perfect supporting role to Rohit as they added 167 off 106 deliveries for the second wicket.
The Mumbai Indians had won the toss and elected to bat first with the conditions not expected to get any better for the batsmen, and the Knight Riders struck an early blow when Shakib al-Hasan removed Tendulkar for two in the third over.
The Little Master was drawn forward to drive, but the left-arm spinner managed to get enough away movement from a quicker delivery to beat the bat and sharp wicketkeeper Bisla had the bails off in a flash.
Gibbs took three beautiful off-side boundaries off Brett Lee’s first over, but Rohit quickly marked himself as the star of the show. He hit Shakib for two fours and a six in his third over and had drawn level with Gibbs on 24 as Mumbai reached 50 off 37 balls.
Hitting boundaries to all points of the compass, Rohit raced to his half-century off 29 balls.
Kolkata’s bowlers looked powerless as Rohit had a shot for every ball, but mystery spinner Sunil Narine has baffled most batsmen in this tournament and Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir really should have bowled the West Indian against him for more than just one over in the first half of his innings.
Gibbs by this stage had committed himself to playing second fiddle and he fed Rohit the strike well as the duo raised their century partnership off 71 deliveries.
Rohit conquered Eden Gardens itself as this is just the third century scored on the famous ground’s slow pitch, the Indian prospect going to his maiden T20 hundred as he pushed Lee to midwicket for a rare single off his 52nd ball.
Gibbs went to his fifty, off 48 deliveries, off the next delivery as Mumbai went to 156 for one after 17 overs. But they managed to score just 26 runs off the last three overs as Lee and Kallis conceded just 12 runs in the last two overs.
The spinners, Shakib (4-0-27-1) and Narine (4-0-28-0) were the best of the Kolkata bowlers in the face of the third highest partnership in IPL history. The record is held by Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh, who added 206 for the second wicket for the Punjab Kings XI against Bangalore in Dharamsala last year.
David Warner and Naman Ojha added an unbroken 189 for the second wicket for the Delhi Daredevils against the Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad just two days ago.