» Cricket » IPL: Battle of big hitters as Mumbai take on KKR

IPL: Battle of big hitters as Mumbai take on KKR

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
September 22, 2020 17:10 IST
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Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma would be looking to bounce back against Kolkata Knight Riders during their IPL match on Wednesday. Photograph: BCCI/IPL

Grace and strength will be on one side while poise and killer instinct on the other when a revamped Kolkata Knight Riders take on champions Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, on Wednesday.

Four-time champions Mumbai once again had an indifferent start when they were beaten by Chennai Super Kings in the tournament opener on Saturday.


Since 2013, MI have never won an opening game and the script didn't change against CSK, who took control of the match by not allowing Mumbai's power-packed lower order to get going in the death overs.

The defending champions will be keen to bounce back, while KKR would look for a perfect begining as it will be a battle between big hitters on both sides on a sluggish Abu Dhabi track.

It will be young Shubman Gill's third IPL, and he would no double like to own the stage with his languid grace and effortless hitting, which he is so capable of. He can hit sixes over extra cover with grace and caress the ball through covers too.

These are exactly the traits that made Rohit Sharma, the great white ball exponent  that he is. Seasoned Rohit versus young Shubman is one for the keeps and makes this battle enticing.

But it's not just grace which makes T20 so appealing. The brute masculinity of power that sends the ball soaring into the orbit is what makes it so special.

Andre Russell

IMAGE: Kolkata Knight Riders' Andre Russell is the most destructive batsmen in world cricket at the moment. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Kolkata Knight Riders/Instagram

There is no doubt that Hardik Pandya, who is back with a chiselled body, would look to unleash his firepower against Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav as well as KKR's highest paid multi-million dollar recruit Pat Cummins. The second pacer could be one among youngsters Prasidh Krishana and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.

But Hardik will find his match in Andre Russell, the most destructive batsmen currently in T20 cricket.

Russell had openly criticised the team management last year for sending him down the order. The West Indian had smashed 52 sixes during one of KKR's worst editions in 2019.

But this time, he has been promised a promotion to No 3 and this could spell doom for any opposition.  

"If it benefits the team and helps us win games, why not. If that meant Russell comes in at three and bats 60 balls, he might actually make a double hundred. Anything can happen with Dre Russ," KKR mentor David Hussey had said recently.

KKR has Eoin Morgan, easily the best white ball captain in limited overs cricket at the moment, who could advice Dinesh Karthik on how to tackle tense moments.

IMAGE: Mumbai Indians went down to Chennai Super Kings in the IPL opener on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI/IPL

Whether he would fit in among the four overseas players is the question as Knights have Narine, Tom Banton, Russell and Cummins, who walk into any T20 playing XI.

For Mumbai, it is important that Nathan Coulter-Nile, with more all-round T20 utility compared to Trent Boult, regains his fitness to add more balance.

On Saturday, despite a strong start, Mumbai Indians were reduced to 162/9 and they could think about using Ishan Kishan's explosive firepower rather than bulky Saurabh Tiwary, who struggled to rotate the strike in the middle overs against CSK.

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah had a rare off-day, leaking 43 runs against CSK and he would like to bounce back against KKR's powerful line-up.

Apart from pacers and spinners Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar, they need one more option in the bowling and that can be in form of all-rounders Hardik and Kieron Pollard.


Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Eoin Morgan, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Ali Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrior, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Sunil Narine, Nikhil Naik, Tom Banton.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Pattison,  Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Prince Balwant Rai, Quinton De Kock, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021