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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Former champs Mumbai, Kolkata in battle to regain lost ground

Former champs Mumbai, Kolkata in battle to regain lost ground

Source: PTI
April 15, 2023 14:11 IST
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With two wins and as many defeats KKR are placed fourth on the points table, with a net run-rate (0.711).

Mumbai Indians are ninth with just two points from three matches and a NRR of -0.879.

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma scored a match-winning 65 in the last-ball victory over Delhi Capitals on Tuesday but the challenge for the Mumbai Indians captain is attaining consistency. Photograph: BCCI

Mumbai Indians face an uphill task against the firepower of Kolkata Knight Riders batters when the teams clash in Mumbai on Sunday in the Indian Premier League, with both former champions looking to get their campaigns back on track.

While Mumbai Indians were able to break their winless streak in their last game against Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders went down fighting on Friday night to Sunrisers Hyderabad in a high-scoring contest at the Eden Gardens.

 

However, despite winning the previous game, Mumbai Indians, the most successful IPL team, will be under added pressure at the Wankhede stadium as they haven’t been able to harness their potential so far in IPL 2023.

With two wins and as many defeats, KKR have had their share of highs and lows and are placed fourth on the points table with a good net run-rate (0.711) as compared to Mumbai Indians, who are ninth after two points and a NRR of -0.879.

Rohit Sharma scored a match-winning 65 against Delhi Capitals but the challenge for the captain is attaining consistency, especially when the other senior, Suryakumar Yadav, is going through a lean patch.

Mumbai Indians are likely to be without ace pacer Jofra Archer, who is sidelined by fresh elbow trouble post his appearance in the first match of the season.

Jason Behrendorff and Riley Meredith will have to shoulder the responsibility in the fast-bowling department, while Piyush Chawla is expected to carry forward his form from the previous game where he took 3/22.

Mumbai Indians will bank on young guns Tim David, Cameron Green, Tilak Varma and Ishan Kishan to fire, given that KKR have shown incredible fight right till the end to pull off a stunning win against Gujarat Titans, and fight till the last ball against SRH.

Rinku Singh will be the biggest threat with the bat for MI, since the left-hander has smacked an unbeaten 48 and 58 in his last two outings batting at No 7.

Besides, skipper Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Shardul Thakur have been among runs for KKR, which indicates MI will have to be at their best in all departments.

KKR skipper Rana banished his ordinary run with the bat, scoring 75 off 41 balls on Friday and announcing his return to form. On the other hand, in his last two outings with the bat, Rinku has alone hit a grand total of five fours and 10 sixes while executing two high-quality knocks in the death overs.

The focus will once again be on the talented young batter in the KKR line-up.

However, KKR have some concerns too in the form of all-rounder Andre Russell, who has struggled with the bat in this IPL. Russell could not complete his quota of overs against SRH in Kolkata on Friday night as he suffered cramps, but his three wickets did keep KKR in the game for long.

It remains to be seen if KKR will try out explosive English batter Jason Roy at the top, given that Gurbaz has performed his role at the top with flair. Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy have been amongst the wickets for KKR, who also have Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batter Litton Das joining them recently.

Squads:

Mumbai Indians:  Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Tim David, Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wk), Tristan Stubbs, Vishnu Vinod, Cameron Green, Arjun Tendulkar, Ramandeep Singh, Shams Mulani, Riley Meredith Nehal Wadhera, Hrithik Shokeen, Arshad Khan, Duan Jansen, Piyush Chawla, Kumar Kartikeya, Raghav Goyal, Jofra Archer, Jason Behrendorff, Akash Madhwal.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Nitish Rana (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Anukul Roy, Rinku Singh, N. Jagadeesan, Vaibhav Arora, Suyash Sharma, David Wiese, Kulwant Khejroliya, Litton Das (wicketkeeper), Mandeep Singh and Jason Roy.

Match starts: 3:30 PM IST

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