Wednesday night promises an absolute thriller on the cards. The defending champions and the most glamorous team Kolkata Knight Riders up against the most high profile setup in the IPL, Mumbai Indians. The clash comes on the day of Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday and with an eye on the Kolkata sky, both the sides would be desperate to change their fortunes. Four defeats in six gams for the Knight Riders doesn’t augur well, if you are the defending Champions and the Shahrukh Khan co-owned franchisee know another defeat would virtually end their playoff hopes. Mumbai Indians aren’t on great such form wither, as they sit sixth on the table. With both the sides desperate to knock each other out, both of the camps have a major selection dilemma.
Mumbai skipper and Aussie legend Ricky Ponting has had a forgettable return to the IPL and would be desperate to regain his lost touch against his former franchise, the Kolkata outfit for which he played for in the first campaign. It would be only right to say the opening combination of Ponting and Tendulkar hasn’t just worked and fans would be eagerly waiting to see what the combination would be like at the historic Eden Gardens on Wednesday night. Though Mumbai boast of an enviable batting line up with the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Keiron Pollard, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu, they haven’t been able to gel together as a unit. Moreover their bowling was also thrashed all around the park by Virender Sehwag in their last match, which is much of a headache for Mumbai’s thinktank. Lasith Malinga has looked way of sorts and Mitchell Johnson has hardly failed to make an impression, things do look precarious.
The Knight Riders have plethora of problems of their own as their batting hasn’t just clicked this season. It’s now a challenge for them to show their mettle and with some hard games coming up; this is the time to let free your horses. “We have to play fearless cricket. We’ll go out there and try to win every match we play from now on “ said Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir when asked about the poor form of the Kolkata franchise. With 8 of their last 10 remaining fixtures to be played away from home, the captain has to lead from the front and steady the already sinking ship. The spin twins for the Knight riders, Sachitra Senanayke and Sunil Narine have bowled well in tandem but the other bowlers have failed to back them. Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary have been very ordinary this season and it would not be a surprise if the Knight Riders think tank decides to reshuffle the pack. For Sachin Tendulkar, it will be his 40th birthday and the Cricketing God would love to gift himself a masterly innings when he comes out to bat at the packed Eden Gardens. The star studded Mumbai Line up has failed to live up to its billing, so will it be yet another fairytale in the glorious chapter of the Little Master if he can fashion a much needed win for his side.   Form guide   Mumbai IndiansLLWWW Kolkata Knight RidersLLWLL Key battles: Sachin vs Narine, Ponting vs Gambhir, Malinga vs Eoin Morgan