In the reverse fixture at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Indians (MI) won an absolute thriller by four wickets on the penultimate ball of the match. Manish Pandey had made a blistering 47-ball 81* to take his team to a competitive 178/7 batting first. And, chasing 179, Mumbai stuttered for much of their chase and were reduced to 97/4 in the 13th over. But a half-century under pressure from Nitish Rana and a breathtaking 11-ball 29 from Hardik Pandya took Mumbai to a four-wicket win, with the hosts having needed 60 runs off the last four overs with five wickets in hand.
Knight Riders and Mumbai, who are currently second and first on the points table, face off at the Eden Gardens, knowing full well that a victory will seal a place in the top two and give them two chances of making the IPL 2017 final on May 21 (Sunday).
KKR vs MI Head-to-head
Given how successful Knight Riders have been as an IPL franchise, you will be aghast by their head-to-head record of 5-14 against Mumbai, including the loss earlier this season. Indians have dominated them home and away, including at venues (like Cuttack, Abu Dhabi, Brabourne Stadium, etc.) which have not been the first homes for these two franchises.
At the Eden Gardens, where these two teams have met each other seven times so far, Mumbai lead Kolkata by 5-2 in the head-to-head.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that Mumbai have won their last three matches against KKR.
Knight Riders: LWLLW (from left to right, most recent result first; current position on the points table: 2nd)
Indians: LLWWT (current position on the points table: 1st)
Match 54: KKR vs MI Playing XI
For KKR, Nathan Coulter-Nile did not take part in Friday’s training and might not play tonight’s home match against Mumbai. Suryakumar Yadav was hit on the back of his head during training and is a doubt as well.
Knight Riders have been, along with their match 54 opponents, one of the settled sides this season. Robin Uthappa returned to action in the last match, against Kings XI Punjab, and though he was out for a golden duck, his presence will only make what’s already a strong Knight Riders’ batting line-up more formidable.
Though Kolkata will not want to tinker with their playing XI in what is their final match of the league stage, in my opinion, they might be tempted to bring in Rovman Powell for Colin de Grandhomme, who has not had the kind of impact he was expected to. Powell is pretty much in the same mould as compatriot Andre Russell: he’s a seam-bowling all-rounder who can, like Russell, strike the ball cleanly and hit the ball a long way. Tonight’s match against the visiting Mumbai is Chris Woakes’s last of IPL 2017.
KKR’s probable playing XI vs MI: 1. Gautam Gambhir (c), 2. Chris Lynn, 3. Robin Uthappa (wk), 4. Manish Pandey, 5. Yusuf Pathan, 6. Colin de Grandhomme/Rovman Powell, 7. Sunil Narine, 8. Chris Woakes, 9. Umesh Yadav, 10. Kuldeep Yadav/Piyush Chawla, and 11. Ankit Singh Rajpoot
Actual playing XI for KKR: 1. Gautam Gambhir (c), 2. Chris Lynn, 3. Robin Uthappa (wk), 4. Manish Pandey, 5. Yusuf Pathan, 6. Colin de Grandhomme, 7. Sunil Narine, 8. Trent Boult, 9. Umesh Yadav, 10. Kuldeep Yadav, and 11. Ankit Singh Rajpoot
Mumbai have for the first time this season lost back-to-back matches. More than these losses, the timing of them is what will worry the team management and the players too. Mumbai will want to get back to winning ways before the playoffs.
Lasith Malinga is having his worst IPL season with the ball and though the team management will be in total support of their talisman, they are sure to have Mitchell Johnson’s name at the back of their minds. I will not be surprised to see Johnson come in place of Malinga tonight.
We don’t yet have news on the fitness of Krunal Pandya, who, if fit, will come straight back into the side.
MI’s probable playing XI vs KKR: 1. Rohit Sharma (c), 2. Parthiv Patel (wk), 3. Lendl Simmons, 4. Nitish Rana, 5. Kieron Pollard, 6. Hardik Pandya, 7. Karn Sharma, 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. Jasprit Bumrah, 10. Mitchell McClenaghan, and 11. Lasith Malinga/Mitchell Johnson
Actual playing XI for Mumbai: 1. Rohit Sharma (c), 2. Saurabh Tiwary, 3. Lendl Simmons, 4. Ambati Rayudu, 5. Kieron Pollard, 6. Hardik Pandya, 7. Karn Sharma, 8. Krunal Pandya, 9. Vinay Kumar, 10. Tim Southee, and 11. Mitchell Johnson
Prediction, match 54: KKR vs MI
Knight Riders have been a little top heavy this season and as a bowling unit, if you pick the wickets of Gambhir, Lynn and Uthappa, you will give yourself a good chance of keeping Kolkata down to a pretty low score. Therefore, one of the keys to success for Mumbai tonight is taking early wickets and getting into an unreliable and out-of-form KKR middle order as soon as possible.
With Malinga not in a good bowling rhythm, Mumbai have relied quite heavily on Jasprit Bumrah for wickets and control in proceedings. And, though every day throws up something different, Knight Riders can maximise their chances of posting a big total if they bat first or chasing down a total that Mumbai set if they play Bumrah out and do not give him wickets. Mind you, Bumrah bowled an impressive spell of 4-6 dots-24-1 against Kings XI, yet the opposition scored 206 runs off the remaining 16 overs.