Kolkata Knight Riders is a talented side, but it looks less-than-half of what it is against four-time champion Mumbai Indians. On the hunt for its fifth straight win in Indian Premier League 2020, Rohit Sharma’s side will start as favourites at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
By snatching two successive games from the jaws of defeat — against Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab — KKR earned a few points for its strategy to unleash ‘mystery’ spinners Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy at the back end.
However, Narine’s absence due to suspect action made KKR look ordinary against Bangalore. If KKR captain Dinesh Karthik blindly trusts one bowler to win him games, it’s Narine. KKR could only dismiss two batters that night, and it lost the game by 82 runs.
Mumbai has been unstoppable with five wins in the first seven games at a handsome net run-rate of +1.327 (KKR net run rate reads -0.577).
They also beat table-toppers Delhi Capitals this week. The defending champion is riding on the pace triumvirate — Jasprit Bumrah (11 wickets), Trent Boult (11 wickets) and James Pattinson (nine wickets). In fact, Bumrah is among the top five dot ball exponents. He bowled 76 dots in the first seven games.
Mumbai also has a versatile batting department. Quinton de Kock’s return to form is good news; Suryakumar Yadav keeps getting better with every game and Rohit has scored 904 runs against KKR in the IPL.
KKR will have plenty to ponder. Rahul Tripathi, once again, had to sacrifice his preferred opening position to accommodate debutant Tom Banton in the last game. The England youngster failed to make it count and it is imperative Karthik promotes Tripathi up the order to bat with Shubman Gill.
Tripathi averages 32.8 as an opener. He even scored 81 off 51 balls against the Super Kings. In all other positions, his average is below 20.
As for the spin department, Chakravarthy is far more unpredictable when bowling in partnership with Narine.
KKR quick Pat Cummins would like to make amends after the hammering in the first game. The Australian had conceded 49 in his three overs. He will be eyeing the most prized wicket of Rohit. If the franchise decides to drop Banton, New Zealand speedster Lockie Ferguson will be a solid addition.
It is not easy to face the Mumbai pace trio in tandem when in a hurry to score. Andre Russell has not really got going this season and it will be interesting to see how he tackles the back of length deliveries.
|“We will have to make amends after the first game when they beat us. We love playing in Abu Dhabi, so it will be a good game. In T20, in any game you play, it (wickets) is normally flat. There is never too swing or seam. It is quite a big field here and it is nice to bowl here. We haven’t played near our best cricket yet; complete a game that blows a team out of the water. We had no right to win against Chennai and Kings XI, but we still won. That’s a sign of a really good side.” – PAT CUMMINS|
Head-to-head: Mumbai 20-6 KKR
IPL 2020: Match No. 32
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Time: 7.30 pm
MI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
KKR: Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson/TomBanton, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna, Kamlesh Nagarkoti.