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Mumbai face tricky Kolkata test to stay afloat

May 05, 2018 11:42 IST

With just three victories from nine games, Mumbai Indians need to win all their remaining five games to make it to the play-offs.

Kolkata Knight Riders are well-placed at third in the eight-team league.

IMAGE: Mumbai Indians players get into a huddle ahead of the Indian Premier League match against Kings XI Punjab at the Holkar Cricket Stadium, in Indore, on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

Mumbai Indians's road to redemption in the Indian Premier League faces another tricky test on Sunday when they host formidable Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai.

The defending champions appear resurgent after Friday’s tense victory over Kings XI Punjab, though their play-off hopes still hang by a thread, thanks to the spate of reverses over the past few weeks.

 

The 21-ball 56-run blitzkrieg between Krunal Pandya and Rohit Sharma in Indore is history and Mumbai Indians will next need to tame Kolkata Knight Riders, who have a reputation of being fierce opponents, at the Wankhade Stadium.

Mumbai’s under-performing batsmen finally clicked against Kings XI and will look to replicate their performance against another top of the table outfit.

They jumped to the fifth spot, having won three of their nine games, while KKR sit comfortably in third position.

The hosts have to win all their remaining five games to make it to the play-offs.

Suryakumar Yadav

IMAGE: Mumbai Indians batsman Suryakumar Yadav has 340 runs to his name. Photograph: BCCI

Mumbai Indians’s Suryakumar Yadav (340 runs) is been in great form, having scored runs consistently. But his opening partner, Evin Lewis, is a disappointment and the home team will need to relook at its opening pair, especially after the West Indian's flop show at the Holkar International Stadium in Indore.

The hosts, however, will be pleased that skipper Rohit is back among the runs.

Wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan, J P Duminy, Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal, who played a splendid cameo against Kings XI, along with Friday’s Man of the Match Yadav and Sharma, make up a formidable batting line-up.

Out-of-form West Indian Kieron Pollard is expected to be benched again in favour of Ben Cutting.

An area Mumbai needs to improve is their bowling in the death overs. While New Zealander Mitchell McLenaghan was hammered for three sixes in the final over by the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen, Hardik leaked over 20 runs in the final over against Kings XI.

Jasprit Bumrah, Cutting and young leggie Mayank Markande (12 wickets) need to play their part to perfection if KKR's strong batting line-up is to be restricted. Krunal, too, needs to chip in with the ball along with Hardik.

Significantly, Mumbai have won only one of their four home games, against RCB, this season.

Shubhman Gill

IMAGE: Young Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Shubhman Gill displayed maturity down the order in the match against Chennai Super Kings. Photograph: BCCI

It is a different story for KKR, with skipper Dinesh Karthik leading the charge in style. Following an emphatic six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings, KKR jumped to third spot and a third win on the trot will boost their qualifying hopes considerably.

Karthik has amassed 280 runs in nine matches but is still outside the top-10 list of leading run-getters; he's followed by Chris Lynn and Andre Russell, with 260 and 207 runs respectively, to their credit.

The firepower of Sunil Narine at the top and the emergence of youngster Shubhman Gill down the order provide KKR with one of the most devastating batting orders. Only vice-captain Robin Uthappa has not played to potential.

KKR also boast of three quality spinners: Narine (10 wickets), Piyush Chawla (8 wickets) and Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (8 wickets). And if Nitish Rana, who was suffering from a back spasm, is back, it will add more variety to their attack.

KKR pacers Tom Curran, veteran Mitchell Johnson and rookie Shivam Mavi need to step up and deliver.

Teams (from):

Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McLenaghan, Mustafizur Rahaman, Jasprit Bumrah, Akila Dananjaya, Ben Cutting, JP Duminy, Rahul Chahar, Sharad Lumba, Adam Milne, Siddhesh Lad, Md Nidheesh, Mohsin Khan, Anukul Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Tajinder Singh, Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary.

Match starts at 1600 IST.

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