Eoin Morgan’s ruthless leadership involving the batsmen, which handed England the World Cup, seems to be the mantra for Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
KKR batted in top gear against Sunrisers Hyderabad to start the tournament on a high. It beat David Warner’s side by 10 runs. And when it meets Mumbai Indians at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday, expect the Knights to go berserk with the bat once again.
They will be keen on improving the head-to-head record against the five-time champion and keep the net run rate up.
Out of 27 games between the two teams, MI has won 21 while KKR could bag only six wins.
Left-hander Nitish Rana, who shook off the COVID-19 hangover to blast 80 off 56 in the opener, should continue with the fireworks in the Powerplay. Fresh from international cricket exposure, he has a seasoned partner in Shubman Gill who can negate the Jasprit Bumrah threat.
MI will be hoping to put up a better show with the bat after managing just 159 in its first match of the season against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Skipper Rohit Sharma, who missed out on a big score due to an unfortunate run out, will be flexing his muscles against his favourite opponent.
Rohit has 939 runs against KKR in the IPL at an average of 46.95. Even his only hundred in the tournament came against the Knights.
South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock is out of quarantine and available for selection. It remains to be seen if he makes the final XI ahead of Chris Lynn, who scored 49 off 35 balls against RCB.
Hardik Pandya did not bowl in the first game due to a shoulder niggle but is expected to roll an arm against KKR.
Message from a special player
It has been three or four years that I left MI. I had a great career. Those 10 years were special. They were like family and I had a great bonding with the team. Whatever I am today is because of MI. They supported me and gave me that freedom to express myself. So thank you, MI but now I am playing for a different team. I was with Chennai Super Kings and this season for KKR, I am looking forward to go out there and do whatever I have been doing, or maybe do better.
– Harbhajan Singh, former Mumbai Indians spinner now in KKR
KKR vs MI in numbers
46: The number of runs Shubman Gill needs to complete 1,000 runs in the IPL.
3: The number of sixes Rohit Sharma needs to hit to surpass M.S. Dhoni’s record of 216 sixes in the IPL.
41: The number of runs Quinton de Kock needs to complete 2,000 runs in the IPL.
2: The number of sixes Kieron Pollard needs to hit to complete 200 sixes in the IPL.