Mumbai Indians, KKR lock horns to enter IPL final
Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders would be eager to avenge their twin defeats in the league stage when they face old foes Mumbai Indians in the IPL Qualifer 2 in Bengaluru, on Friday.
KKR have an abysmal 5-15 head-to-head record against Mumbai Indians, who notched up twin victories over their rivals in the league stage of the tournament this year.
In fact, Mumbai Indians had pulled off their first win of the season against KKR at the Wankhede stadium last month when they beat them by four wickets with just one ball to spare.
Mumbai once again got the better of KKR when they handed them a nine-run defeat in their last league match at Edens Gardens.
Come Friday, Mumbai Indians and KKR will face each other once again with the IPL final spot at stake after suffering contrasting fates in qualifier 1 and eliminator respectively.
Mumbai are coming into the match after a 20-run defeat against Rising Pune Supergiant, while KKR defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-truncated eliminator on Wednesday night.
Both Mumbai and KKR have won the IPL trophy twice in the last nine editions and a win will take them to the final against Rising Pune Supergiant to be played in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Mumbai's batting has been remarkable this season with openers Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel giving them good starts and skipper Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayadu and Kieron Pollard firing in unison.
Adding to this, the Pandya brothers -- Hardik and Krunal -- have been exceptionally good whenever the team has needed them.
With 10 victories in the league stage, table-toppers MI have been in rampaging form and they would like to forget their defeat against Pune and rise to the big occasion.
In bowling, Mumbai may continue to open their attack with Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga and Kiwi Mitchell McClenaghan.
Jasprit Bumrah has been their best death overs specialist and along with Hardik, he will have to play a key role to restrict KKR, which boasts of some big names like Chris Lynn, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, among others.
After clinching a win against Hyderabad on Wednesday night, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned side would like to continue its winning momentum.
KKR would hope Lynn, who just scored six in the last match, comes to the party. Lynn had scored a quick-fire fifty off just 21 balls against Gujarat Lions on his return at Chinnaswamy stadium after recovering from an injury.
Among others, KKR also boasts of Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa, who have scored 396 and 387 runs respectively.
Gambhir, who is placed in the second spot in the most runs list with 486 runs, will hope to lead from the front. He was in red-hot form early in the season but seemed a tad off-colour in the business end.
As far as their bowling is concerned, Chris Woakes (17 wickets) and Umesh Yadav (16 wickets) have been on song, and they have their task cut out to stop Simmons and Rohit at the top of the order, and Rayadu and Pollard in the middle.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Lendl Simmons, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Parthiv Patel, Saurabh Tiwary, Shreyas Gopal, Tim Southee, Lasith Malinga, Krunal Pandya, Keiron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Asela Gunaratne, Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Jagdish Suchith, Jaspreet Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Karn Sharma and Vinay Kumar.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (C), Darren Bravo, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Shakib-Al-Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Ishank Jaggi, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Ankit Rajpoot, Suryakumar Yadav, Robin Uthappa and Umesh Yadav.