It’s going to be an interesting battle between two prime teams which further looked strong during the ongoing Indian Premier League’s group stage on its points table, as both teams are facing off each other in its final group stage match to end it on a high note, respectively.
Kolkata Knight Riders side is coming into the match after the 14-run loss against Kings XI Punjab at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali before Mumbai Indians lost a thriller by seven runs at the Wankhede stadium against the same opposition when they were chasing down the target 231.
Kolkata Knight Riders have emerged as a strong unit under the dynamic leadership of Gautam Gambhir, who has also been among runs followed by Robin Uthappa, who scored a bulk of them before Chris Lynn made a staggering comeback while recovering from a shoulder injury to score quick runs at the top.
Sunil Narine, who has been the go-to man for Gambhir with the bat, also had a whack against opposition as he showed his best part while chasing down the target of 159 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The makeshift opener Narine is expected to score some quick runs – to provide early impetus to middle order batsmen. Interestingly, Narine has scored 214 runs in this season out of overall 261 runs which he scored in 79 matches.
In 13 matches this season, he scored 214 at an average of 19.45 despite his highest score of 54. Narine, who has played as an opener in the West Indies domestic circuit has also picked 10 wickets with his off-spin bowling in this season.
Knight Riders has to set foot on the gas while giving their best in all the departments at home and it’s expected their co-owner Shahrukh Khan will cheer his team on Saturday (May 13), as Mumbai Indians are capable of making a strong comeback after losing out on two in three matches.
Knight Riders middle-order batsmen have to change the gear while chasing down the tricky targets. In their match against Punjab, the side failed to cross the line even after Lynn smashed 84 off 52 balls.
Narine (184.48) is having the best strike-rate alongside Chris Lynn 188.633, who is topping the charts of the best strike rate on the table.
However, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Colin de Grandhomme have to give their best to secure place for much-awaited playoffs.
Quick to learn the lesson, formidable Knight Riders would be aiming to compensate for each other, as skipper himself has to anchor the innings for the team, whereas, bowlers are supposed to play the massive role to contain solid batting line-up of visitors which has further been strengthened by the induction of Lendl Simmons, who has been with the team for quite long now.
In their opening match of this season, Mumbai Indians clinched a thriller by four wickets while chasing down the target of 179 in 19.5 overs.
Coming to the head-to-head scenario, the two-time IPL champion teams have given their best on the field since the first edition of IPL in 2008.
Both teams have faced each other in 19 matches in which Mumbai Indians have won 14 while Kolkata Knight Riders managed just five wins.
In seven matches at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Mumbai Indians won five matches, whereas, hosts Knight Riders has claimed just two wins. Having a poor record in Mumbai, Knight Riders have claimed a solitary win out of the eight games, as they eked out a win in 2012 in Mumbai by 32 runs.
Recent Form This Season:
KKR – W L L W L
MI – W W W L L
If hosts will be able to register a convincing win against Men in Blue, they can go up on the points table on the basis of a net run-rate.
Rising Pune Supergiant also have one match remaining and they could go up to 18 points if they are going to register a much-required win in their final match against Kings XI Punjab after losing out against Delhi Daredevils, lately.
However, Kolkata-based outfit seemed to have lost the momentum, Knight Riders went on to lose three matches in their previous four encounters and that has further added the pressure on the team.
There is further an advantage for the team which will finish the table on the top by having two shots in a bid to qualify for the final of the tenth edition of IPL and Knight Riders would be relying heavily on their top-order batting.
Kolkata Knight Riders Predicted XI:
Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Colin de Grandhomme, Yousuf Pathan, Manish Pandey, Kuldeep Yadav/Piyush Chawla, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot