The Kolkata Knight Riders host the in-form Mumbai Indians tonight at the Eden Gardens. Both teams represent the topsy-turvy nature of this IPL season. The Indians started off the season slowly but have surged into the top four. The Knight Riders started reasonably well, but have tailed off in recent games and wallow in the seventh spot.
Where home grounds are supposed to be fortresses, Eden Gardens has been a polar opposite for KKR. In six games at the hallowed stadium, the Knight Riders have won only one game. To complicate matters, they’re up against one of the better away sides in the form of the Indians. Mumbai has won four and lost two away games so far in IPL 2019.
KKR’s loss of form has been dramatic, to say the least. After winning four from their first five games, the Knight Riders have lost six in a row. From contending for a playoff spot to now avoiding an ignominious eighth place.
Kolkata Knight Riders (Probable XI): Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C&WK), Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite, Rinku Singh, Prithvi Raj, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna
Mumbai Indians (Probable XI): Rohit Sharma (C), Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Rahul Chahar, Beuran Hendricks, Anukul Roy, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah
Piyush Chawla vs Rohit Sharma
MI captain Rohit Sharma has not had a good season with the bat. His captaincy has been great but his batting form has suffered. He’s averaging 29.50 and has only scored 295 runs so far.
He did, however, hit his first 50+ score of IPL 2019 in the last match. Rohit’s 67 off 48 balls helped his team win the match and he was named the Player of the Match.
In terms of getting wickets, KKR have been the worst side so far in the IPL. Piyush Chawla’s re-introduction to the side, in place of Kuldeep Yadav, has improved things on the wicket-taking front. He picked up three wickets in his last match and is now only a wicket behind Amit Mishra to become the second-highest wicket-taker in IPL history.
KKR will be relying on the tandem of Chawla and Narine to get the important wickets. The cause for concern for the bowlers will be a rejuvenated Rohit Sharma, who can single-handedly win matches.
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Andre Russell vs Lasith Malinga
He might be past his prime, but Lasith Malinga is still a force to be reckoned with. In Mumbai’s match against CSK, we saw classic Malinga as he registered a four-wicket haul. That was his second 4WI of the season.
Andre Russell has been the undisputed star for KKR this season but his past few innings have not been productive. The West Indies all-rounder’s last two innings have yielded scores of 14 and 15 respectively.
What makes this matchup interesting is that Malinga thrives on getting wickets in the late overs. Conversely, Russell is a beast in that same duration and they’re bound to be pitted against each other.
Seven consecutive losses are rare in the IPL, but looking at the teams and their forms, it is highly possible for Kolkata tonight.
Despite the impending departure of a few key overseas players, Mumbai Indians still look a more balanced side than KKR, whose over-reliance on Russell has been their kryptonite.Kolkata’s dismal home record does not help their chances in this match as well.
Expect the toss-winning side to bat second, as has been the case in this IPL. In both cases, however, Mumbai are better-suited to avoiding a collapse and either putting up a good total or chasing one. For Kolkata, their recent form suggests capitulation more often than not.
We expect Mumbai Indians to take the win tonight and book their place in the IPL playoffs.
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