The two time title winners Kolkata Knight Riders will play their first match of this season against the defending champions Mumbai Indians, in what will be the 5th match of this season. Mumbai Indians did not have the start they were looking for as they lost to CSK in the opener. Rohit Sharma and Co. will be looking to open their account as they now hold the advantage of already playing in the Abu Dhabi pitch.
The two teams are very difficult to separate on the sheets as their line-up is filled with the best players of the sport. It can also be regarded as the battle of all-rounders as for KKR they have the last season’s MVP Andre Russell and star West Indian Sunil Narine. While on the other hand Mumbai Indians have Hardik Pandya and the veteran all-rounder Kieron Pollard.
With already IPL 2020 giving us some thrillers of matches, this match is likely to be of the same caliber and is expected to have a very tight finish. It is also to be noted that KKR have a poor record against MI winning only 6 out of the 25 matches played against them.
Can MI bounce back and get the momentum going in their favor? Or will Andre Russell dominate the MI bowlers with his clean hitting?
Head to Head
Matches- 25, KKR- 6, MI- 19, N/R- 0
Both the teams have not reported any injuries and are likely to go into the match with their full strength squads. Mumbai Indians are likely to go ahead with the team that played against CSK.
Kuldeep Yadav who was out for the sport for a few months due to a shoulder injury is all fit to go now for KKR. The young sensation Kamlesh Nagarkoti is also expected to make his debut in this match.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch as seen in the IPL opener is likely to be a good surface for the batsmen during the first half of the innings. As the pitch slows down the batsmen have been seen struggling to play the spinners. There is not much assistance for fast bowlers in the MI vs CSK clash the same can be expected for this match as well.
The weather is reported to be clear throughout the game with temperatures expected to reach 35 degrees and humidity 66%.
With high humidity and temperature due is expected to play a crucial role later in the game. The team winning the toss choosing to chase the score has become a custom in this IPL season for the above reason.
Probable Playing Xl
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Shubman Gill, Eoin Morgan, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik(C & wk), Sandeep Warrier, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti
Mumbai Indians (MI): Rohit Sharma(C), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Rohit Sharma(MI) vs Pat Cummins(KKR)
The ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma is arguably one of the best clean hitters of the ball in the game and when in the groove he is unstoppable. Said that, the MI captain could not get himself going in the last match and will be hoping he can get the momentum in his favor. It would not be an easy task for Sharma as KKR have a very good bowling line-up with the likes of experienced Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Pat Cummins.
Though the biggest battle will be of Sharma and Pat Cummins. The Australian does not have much IPL experience but do not judge him by that because he is currently the No.1 ranked Test bowler in the World and No.6 in the ODI rankings.
Both the players are of world-class caliber and is guaranteed that the battle between the two stars will be a highly entertaining one.
Eoin Morgan(KKR) vs Trent Boult(MI)
The mini-battle between the England captain and the kiwis Spearhead Trent Boult will be one worth watching. The last time they met the English captain had the last laugh as they lifted their maiden ICC World Cup. Trent Boult did not have a very good game as he conceded 67 runs in his quota of 10 overs without claiming any wickets.
Both the players have an abundance of experience under their belt and it would be a really nice battle when the two leading players of the respective countries take each other on.
Both the teams have a very strong line-up and there is very little that can seperate the two. Given that, MI will be under some pressure to win this game as they would not want to lose back to back matches. KKR on the other side have Andre Russell who is one person who can win the game on his own even against the best opponents.
Another advantage for the Mumbai Indians would be that they have already played in the Abu Dhabi pitch and will now have some idea on how the pitch behaves. Also, KKR have a very poor record against Mumbai Indians as they have won only 6 matches out of the 25 played.
Lot would depend on the way Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell play the game. KKR will be hoping the two can get their guns blazing.
Cricwizz predicts Mumbai Indians to win the match.