Date and time: September 23, Wednesday; 19:30 IST
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 2020 preview
Two-time IPL winner Kolkata Knight Riders are the last team to begin their IPL 2020 campaign, with a fixture that’s historically not been kind to them.
The franchise has invested heavily in improving the squad and expectations of Dinesh Karthik and co. are high. Karthik is into his third season as captain, entrusted with the job by the management despite the acquisition of England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan at the pre-season auction.
In addition to Morgan, Pat Cummins is another player to watch out for having been bought for Rs 15.5 crore at the pre-season auction. He’s back in IPL action after missing the last two editions and how much of an influence he exerts on a T20 match with his four-over bowling quota remains to be seen.
Apart from Morgan and Cummins, KKR have shelled out big money (Rs 4.4 crore) on Tamil Nadu spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who played one match for Kings XI Punjab last season before an injury cut short his maiden IPL campaign having been bought for Rs 8.4 crore. The return of Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who missed the entirety of last season with injuries, adds to a wealth of fast-bowling options. Kuldeep Yadav had a difficult IPL 2019 and his performances, as the frontline Indian spinner in the squad, will be vital to Knight Riders’s progress.
They play a Mumbai Indians side who are in familiar territory after losing their opening fixture against Chennai Super Kings. It’s the eighth successive season in which they have begun with a defeat. They have turned around their poor starts in the past but captain Rohit Sharma said on Saturday his team must adapt to the conditions and called on the batsmen to convert their starts into substantial scores.
Speaking after the match, Rohit said: “We need to adapt to the pitches… The opposition can tie you down, it’s all about understanding what we need to do.”
Wednesday’s match is a clash of two quality sides with firepower all the way through. For either team to win, they would have to play well for a majority of the 40 overs, an area where Mumbai were found wanting against CSK.
KKR vs MI head to head in IPL
Kolkata Knight Riders trail Mumbai Indians in the head to head by 6-19 in 25 meetings.
The teams shared the spoils last season by winning their respective home fixtures.
KKR vs MI Abu Dhabi pitch report
Abu Dhabi is the home base for the two franchises, who play more than half their 14 league matches at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
This is the second match that will be played on the Abu Dhabi pitch, where Chennai Super Kings successfully chased down 163 against the Mumbai Indians on the opening night. The bounce was variable but the ball came on to the bat and the batsmen could time the ball with ease.
For Wednesday’s match, the pitch will be better with potentially more pace and bounce on offer.
Abu Dhabi weather forecast for September 23
A maximum of 38-degree Celsius is forecast for Wednesday, with the temperature dropping to 30-degree Celsius in the evening.
The humidity is forecast to be 72%, which will make the conditions tougher for the players and increases the possibility of dew in the second half. Therefore, both teams will want to field first if they win the toss.
IPL 2020: KKR vs MI playing 11
Kolkata Knight Riders, with potentially Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine opening the batting followed by Nitish Rana at No. 3, have a settled top order. With Karthik, Morgan and Andre Russell capable of batting at any position from Nos. 4 to 7, they are a powerful batting line-up who will be difficult to contain if they get going. New recruit Cummins will lead the bowling attack, with Narine and Kuldeep playing as the specialist spinners.
Probable Kolkata Knight Riders playing 11: 1 Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Sunil Narine, 4 Nitish Rana, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Rinku Singh, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Prasidh Krishna, 10 Shivam Mavi/Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
Mumbai Indians are unlikely to alter their playing 11 despite the defeat to CSK. They took a lot of us by surprise by including James Pattinson, who had only come in as a replacement for Lasith Malinga, in the XI ahead of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell McClenaghan. But the Australian, save for an expensive last over, gave a good account of himself and is likely to retain his place. Saurabh Tiwary, who played ahead of Ishan Kishan, scored a crucial 42 on his return and will expect to play against KKR.
Probable Mumbai Indians playing 11: 1 Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Saurabh Tiwary, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Both teams are likely to prefer chasing and with the possibility of dew, the onus is on the bowling attacks to combat the conditions and handle the pressure exerted on them by the batsmen. It promises to be an interesting tussle with both sides evenly-matched.