The last time the Kolkata Knight Riders played the Mumbai Indians, they defied expectations by posting a win. This happened exactly a week ago and the Knight Riders will be hoping for a similar result to keep their bid for playoff qualification alive.
The Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, have already booked their playoff berth. They’ll be fighting for the coveted top spot in this match, in case CSK lose to KXIP today. The Super Kings are currently on top with 18 points and the Indians sit at third place with 16 points. If the teams are tied on points, Mumbai will get the benefit of a superior net run rate.
In 24 overall matches played against KKR, MI have certainly had better fortune. Mumbai has won 18 of those 24 encounters.
At Wankhede the numbers get even more lopsided in favor of the home side. In eight games at the famous venue, the Mumbai Indians have won seven and only lost one game.
Mumbai Indians (Probable XI): Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Barinder Sran, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
Kolkata Knight Riders (Probable XI): Shubman Gill, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (C&WK), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney, Sandeep Warrier
Jasprit Bumrah vs Andre Russell
The last time these sides met, Andre Russell took matters into his own hands as he blasted an 80* off 40 balls. That, coupled with his great form in IPL 2019 makes him the player to watch in this match.
Russell’s explosiveness can be seen in his season stats. He has already scored four 50+ scores in this edition and his strike rate is a jaw-dropping 205.64. He’s also averaging 63.75, about 20 runs more than his career IPL average of 34.14. He’s also smashed 52 sixes in IPL 2019; the most so far and 20 more than second-placed Chris Gayle.
Mumbai will need a massive performance from speedster Jasprit Bumrah to keep Russell silent. The Indian quick was at the top of his game in Mumbai’s win over SRH. His miserly super-over, conceding only eight runs, led him to being named the Player of the Match. Bumrah will need to conjure the same magic this time out to outfox Russell.
Quinton de Kock vs Sunil Narine
South African keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock’s maiden season with MI has been a successful one. The flamboyant batsman is the highest run-getter for his franchise and sits at sixth in the Orange Cap race.
His penchant for scoring runs has directly helped Mumbai and he’ll be their key player in this game. The Proteas wicketkeeper will be looking to add to his tally of four half-centuries in this IPL. He is in good nick as well, scoring 69* in MI’s win over SRH in his last match.
Wicket-taking has been an issue for KKR this season. Still, Sunil Narine’s mystery spin remains a formidable weapon. One that is bound to be utilized against the free-scoring de Kock.
Despite a slow start, Narine has gotten back into his wicket-taking mold. The West Indian now has taken 10 wickets in 11 matches alongside an economy rate of 7.78. He is susceptible to bowling loose overs; a tendency that can prove to be costly against de Kock.
Kolkata was able to get one over Mumbai last time out. We expect the result to be something similar, considering KKR have a playoff berth to fight for.
The stakes are higher for KKR and their players have shown an incredible resolve in the past few games to qualify for the playoffs. We expect them to continue in the same vein. Despite a one-sided record at Wankhede, KKR can complete a double over Mumbai Indians this season.
Considering Mumbai Indians have already qualified for the playoffs, we expect them to be slightly more complacent than the visitors. This is bound to make a big difference in the match’s proceedings.