After a lot of controversies carried on from previous season, Indian Premier League is finally going to begin on 16th April, 2014. General elections in India forced the first leg of IPL i.e 20 matches to be shifted to UAE, of which the first game will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in which the Defending Champions Mumbai Indians will take on the 2012 Champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
After a poor auction for both the teams they look alike. Mumbai Indians used a lot of money to retain its players hence couldn’t get a good picks this year. But they will rely heavily on the match winners in their team like Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, have failed poorly in auctions even with money available. They wasted money on those players who haven’t been in form recently and made their team weaker than last season.
But the ultimate strengths and weakness in the teams will be on show only once the first match has been played.
Indian Premier League – 2014: Match 1 – Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. April 16, 2014, Start time 18:30 (Local Time), 14:30 (GMT)
Head-to-Head in T20’s:
The Head to Head in the IPL will better be not recognized by the KKR fans as they have a real poor record against Mumbai Indians. They have just managed to win two games in the 12 meetings of which one win came when MI rested all of their key players and played second string side. The KKR’s least score in IPL too is recorded against MI itself. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma has scored his IPL century against KKR.
Pitch Report: The wicket in the Sheikh Zayed stadium usually will be helping the slow bowlers on a flat track. The average T20 scorers at this venue have been recorded above 140 which means the venue is haunting one for Batters which have quick outfield.
Weather Report: The weather is expected to be clear on match day as its beginning of summer over there. As the matches schedule in the evening, the temperature will be around 30oC. There will be a due effect there as like other subcontinent grounds.
Defending Champions Mumbai Indians may go with the best line-up for the first game. With Michael Hussey, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson and Lasith Malinga are expected to fill the overseas slots. And Rohit, Rayudu, Tare, Singh, Zaheer and Ojha may be filling the Indian players with an extra batsman who is an uncapped player. They might even choose Jalaj Saxena, a spin all-rounder instead of Ojha if they fell their batting is weak. They have an option in form of Krishmar Santokie but may not make into squad till Malinga’s departure as they will not like to keep one of Corey and Pollard a side.
Mumbai Indians’ Possible Playing XI:
Michael Hussey, Aditya Tare(wk), Rohit Sharma (capt), Ambati Rayudu, Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard, Sushanth Marathe / Jalaj Saxena , Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha.
KKR has many options to choose and that makes them in a big dilemma. With Overseas players like Shakib, Narine, Kallis, Doeschate, Russell in the squad it becomes tough to pick among them. While Narine and Shakib will feature without any doubt, it will be based on how Gambhir and coaches think. They will look to go with a balanced side in the first game and later go for changes based on it.
KKR’s Possible Playing XI:
Robin Uthappa (wk), Gautham Gambhir (capt), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, JH Kallis / Ryan Doeschate / Andre Russell (any two of three), Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel / Pat Cummins.