Kolkata Knight Riders will take on the Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in what happens to be the most important match of this year’s VIVO IPL.
Both teams have in indifferent form throughout this season and will be trying their level best to secure the fourth spot and qualify for the playoffs. The fact that whoever wins this match goes into the top four definitely will have both these teams charged up to do well.
Mumbai Indians have seemed to find their perfect team composition at just the right time of the tournament and will be hoping to win all of their remaining matches and qualify for the playoffs. KKR on the other hand will be looking to take advantage of the fact that they will be playing at home. MI not been able to finish off with games will also is something that KKR will look to capitalise on.
KKR’s record has been horrendous against Mumbai in previous editions of the IPL and this year too they have lost their previous match against them. MI has won 17 matches against KKR compared to KKR’s record of 5 victories over the years in the IPL.
In the reverse leg between these two sides, Mumbai Indians clinched a 13 run victory. KKR had won the toss and had sent the Indians to bat. MI got off to a fine start with Evin Lewis and Suryakumar Yadav smashing the balls to all parts of the ground. But as has been MI’s story throughout this IPL their batting fell apart in the final 7 overs. KKR came back in the game with Johnson, Russell and Narine bowling extremely well in the death. Mumbai’s strategy of always keeping a left-right combination at the batting crease has already been a disaster. They did the same mistake in this match too by sending Duminy ahead of Ben Cutting with just 3.1 overs left. The southpaw failed miserably as he managed 13 from 11 balls. Hardik’s 35 from 20 balls eventually took MI past the 180 figure mark.
Kolkata didn’t get off to a great start as they lost Shubman Gill and Chris Lynn early. KKR’s strategy of not opening with Narine almost backfired when Gill got out cheaply but thanks to Uthappa’s fifty and Nitish Rana’s 31 (27), they got back into the game. MI then struck back with Mayank Markande picking up Uthappa and Hardik picking up the set Nitish Rana. After that Kolkata never really got back into the game, despite skipper Karthik’s valiant efforts. Krunal Pandya’s blinder to dismiss Andre Russell was perhaps the turning point of the match. He then came on to bowl a fairly good last over to defend 23 from 6 balls.
Team News and Strategies:
MI is expected to not make any changes, considering the fact that this team has been winning in their last couple of matches. The batting order is still an issue with MI and we definitely feel that rather than going for the left-right combination strategy they should try and send in players according to the match situation. Rohit Sharma should come in at number 3, followed by either JP Duminy or Hardik depending on the situation of the game. If the run-rate has to be increased then Hardik should definitely come ahead of the South African. In fact in that kind of situation Krunal or Cutting can also be promoted in the batting order. In case a couple of wickets fall within 8-9 overs of the match then JP Duminy should come in at number 4 ahead of the Pandya brothers and Cutting.
Kolkata on the other hand should look to stick with Narine up the order followed by Uthappa and Gill. The KKR bowling has been doing well and Karthik will be hoping that the bowlers can restrict MI to a low score. Strategy of bowling spinners against Rohit worked perfectly in their previous game and hence KKR will look to do the same in this match.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna.
Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, JP Duminy, Ishan Kishan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande and Jasprit Bumrah.