Against all trials and tribulations, led by the ever effervescent Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders stormed their way into the second qualifier of the 2017 IPL and are now set to lock horns against their nemesis of the season – Mumbai Indians. If there was one team which the Knight Riders wouldn’t want to face, it would have to be the table toppers of this season, as the men in blue have always bossed the Knight Riders throughout the ten seasons of the IPL.
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But as often said, desperate times bring you around desperate measures, and with an absolute champion like Gautam Gambhir leading the side, there isn’t any better opportunity for the Knight Riders to settle scores with the Mumbai Indians. A dominating performance at Bangalore could well determine the fate of the Knight Riders.
The sides met on the 13th of May and its been not even a week since their final clash. Batting first at the revamped deck of the Eden Gardens, Mumbai Indians got to a decent 173 on board, thanks to mainly a solid half century from comeback man Ambati Rayudu.
The target wasn’t as daunting as the Knight Riders made it look and an array of wickets in the middle order and some mindless batting meant that Mumbai got away with the game and ended up winning by 9 runs.
Recent form this season:
MI: L, W, L, L, W
KKR: W, L, L, W, L
The injury to Manish Pandey for the eliminator could have had disastrous consequences for the side had the Knight Riders been chasing a steep target. However, at his home ground, Pandey is expected to be fit for the second qualifier and being in form, his presence will massively boost Kolkata’s batting stocks. He should be replacing Ishank Jaggi.
Gautam Gambhir reminded everyone that his form hadn’t waned away after a promising start and he was here to stay and make a bold statement. His unbeaten 32 off 19 deliveries in the eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad was one gem of a knock as he took the onus of getting his side through upon himself. It’s high time that Gambhir now opens the innings alongside Chris Lynn.
KKR Predicted XI:
- C. Lynn 2. G. Gambhir (c) 3. R. Uthappa 4. M. Pandey 5. Y. Pathan 6. S. Yadav 7. S. Narine 8. N. Coulter-Nile 9. K. Yadav 10. U. Yadav 11. T. Boult