The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. In a clash of heavyweights, Kolkata Knight Riders would be looking to register a win against the mighty Mumbai Indians. This would enable them to finish among the top two and better their chances of making it to the final of IPL 2017. Given their net-run-rate advantage over the next three teams – Pune, Sunrisers and Kings XI – it is highly unlikely that they don’t qualify for playoffs. In their last match, the rising KXIP managed to restrict them to 14 runs short of the target. In their last match before the playoffs, KKR would be raring to get back to the winning ways. Preview and Match Predictions for Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians.
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The table toppers Mumbai Indians have truly emerged as the most balanced side of the tournament. Their power packed batting along with the consistent bowling line up has worked wonders for them this season. They’ll be looking to test their strength for the last time before the playoffs against the second placed KKR. A win here at Eden Gardens would send their confidence rocketing that would do them a lot off good in the playoffs. In their last match, they nearly pulled off a record chase against KXIP.
Looking at the pitch, a high scoring encounter is on the cards. Dew would be a factor and thus teams would prefer chasing here. Pacers can expect some movement off the pitch especially with the new ball.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
The explosive starts provided by Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn have dented the hopes of opposition bowlers. KKR’s run rate of 9.87 in the Powerplay so far this season is the highest ever by any IPL side in a season. Chris Lynn nearly won them the match single handedly in the last game against KXIP. Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav have been consistently bowling well and especially at Eden Gardens. Kuldeep Yadav is emerging as one of the leading wicket takers for the side. Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy has been the talking point of this IPL. He has amazed one and all with his aggressive moves on the field and even while choosing the playing XI.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – WEAKNESSES
Gautam Gambhir has scored 22 runs in 34 balls (strike rate 64.70) when he has not opened the batting this season in the last two games. Colin de Grandhomme hasn’t done enough with either bat or ball. Yusuf Pathan has failed to contribute in the last few matches. Manish Pandey also looked a little off colour. The fifth bowler problem could haunt them especially in the absence of Nathan Coulter-Nile.
MUMBAI INDIANS – STRENGTHS
The openers, Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel have done their job excellently at the top. Kieron Pollard have been at his destructive best. They nearly chased down 230 in the last game owing to some great hitting by Pollard and valuable contribution lower down the order by Hardik Pandya. Jasprit Bumrah has impressed everyone with his amazing control over the ball. He has been economical as well as a leading wicket taker. Karn Sharma has grabbed whatever opportunities he has got.
MUMBAI INDIANS – WEAKNESSES
The captain, Rohit Sharma has blown hot and cold this season. He hasn’t fired consistently with the bat. Nitish Rana is finding it hard to bring back his form. Lasith Malinga seems to have run out of steam. Mitchell McClenaghan has leaked too much runs especially in middle overs.
KKR – Nathan Coulter-Nile, who suffered a blow on his helmet grill against RPS, has been ruled out of this game. Suryakumar Yadav was hit on the back of the head during a batting drill and may not be available for selection.
Gautam Gambhir (capt) , Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot
MI – Krunal Pandya may make a comeback in place of Karn Sharma.
Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel (wk), Nitish Rana, Rohit Sharma (capt), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 19, KKR – 5, MI – 14.
Earlier this season at Wankhede, Mumbai chased down Kolkata’s score of 178 off the penultimate ball. Rohit Sharma averages 50.54 against KKR in IPL from 19 matches. His last four innings against them at the Eden reads 109*, 34, 98* and 84*.
A clash between the top two sides of the tournament promises to be a nail biting encounter. Here’s what we predict.
If MI bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
KKR wins by 5 wickets
If KKR bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
MI wins by 5 wickets.