The Mumbai Indians return home to face the Kolkata Knight Riders for the first match of Sunday’s double-header. Mumbai have a great head-to-head ratio against KKR, having won 16 of the 21 games they have played against them. KKR has only won at the Wankhede once in their entire history.
KKR have a great chance of putting CSK under pressure for the number two spot, seeing that SRH are sitting quite comfortably at the top. MI have managed to keep their hopes alive, and need to keep winning to do so. Can they best KKR once again, or will the Knight Riders win this one?
Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna.
Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne.
Where the teams stand
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR have been patchy all season, but recent games have seen them looking more dangerous as the tournament progresses. Shubman Gill scored a brilliant fifty against CSK after being promoted to number four, a decision that should have been taken much earlier. Narine was extremely lucky once again, having been dropped twice. He will be a key batsman for KKR against MI’s versatile attack. If he can get some quick runs at the top without relying on fielders to drop him, he could put KKR in a commanding position. Dinesh Karthik too has been in excellent touch. He has scored at above 200 in both their previous games, a key cause of success for KKR. Uthappa has been a concern in recent matches after a series of low scores, but he remains a key component of the KKR machine. With Lynn and Russell also included, KKR form a potentially explosive batting lineup, and if the Wankhede wicket does not skid as much as it has recently, we could be in for a high-scoring contest.
KKRs bowling has looked better in recent games as well. Johnson has been far too expensive and is the main reason they have been leaky. They have Curran and Searles on the bench to replace him. Mavi has been sublime economically but has somehow failed to take too many wickets so far. Narine is always a potent threat, whereas Yadav and Chawla are always on the verge of taking a wicket too. The attack has managed to keep their oppositions in check in recent games, not letting them score too many, and if they can do so again, there is a high chance of them breaking their jinx against MI
Fantasy Picks: KKRs batsmen have been enigmatic in the same way CSKs were in the initial half of the tournament. Any of them could come up with a good performance. Narine, Russell, and DK can’t not be a part of the squad. Gill, Mavi and Chris Lynn are the other two best picks from KKR.
Mumbai will be happy that the Pandya brothers have regained their form at just the time they need them to. Both of them have been contributing heavily with the ball as well, giving Mumbai two excellent all-rounders to play. Their top four has been on and off, but when they are hitting the ball well, no target is beyond reach. They also have a very long batting lineup that extends till number eight. As a team, Mumbai have been far too inconsistent, largely owing to the failures of the batsmen. They have chopped and changed their combination several times throughout the tournament, and finally seem to have settled on a combination. Duminy and Cutting have not been in the best form, but they remain threats if the batting clicks.
Their bowling attack has been leaky recently after carrying the team on their back for the initial half of the tournament. Markande has lost his mystique while Cutting and Hardik Pandya have been expensive as well. Bumrah has been phenomenal as always, while McClenaghan has also been surprisingly economical. Krunal has been inconsistent too. The bowling could go either way, and batting second is the safer option. Their batsmen will have to support the bowlers to win against KKR.
Fantasy Picks: The Pandya brothers are likely to fetch anyone a lot of points. Suryakumar Yadav and Bumrah are other must-haves. Rohit Sharma is another gamble that could pay off considering how much he likes playing against KKR.
KKR win. KKR have the better-balanced team of the two and are more likely to win this than Mumbai.
Will the Knight Riders get the job done or could the Mumbai Indians nab a vital win? Let us know in the comments and poll below.