A quality that defines both Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians is their fighting spirit. After losing five of their first nine matches, Kolkata won nine matches on the trot to win their second IPL title. On the other hand, Mumbai, who lost all their matches (five) in Dubai, came out all guns blazing with 7 wins to seal a place in the final four. Both teams squeezed out every resource available last season to produce the desired result and it remains to seen whether they can do the same this season.
Head to Head in IPL:
The Head to Head record between both these teams in IPL has been dominated by Mumbai Indians, who have managed to secure a victory 10 times out of the 14 games played between the two.
Pitch and Weather Report:
The pitch at Eden Gardens is traditionally on the slower side and good for batting, with plenty of assistance for spinners under lights. As far as the weather conditions are concerned, rain is expected to play the spoilsport.
Kolkata Knight Riders have stuck to the tried and tested combination that won them the title last year. Led by the aggressive Gautam Gambhir, they would look to make a mark right from the start itself. The addition of Brad Hogg and mystery spinner KC Cariappa has more or less covered all the bases and once Shakib leaves for national duty, either of them may get a look into the playing 11. Johan Botha and Azhar Mahmood have been called as the replacements for Chris Lynn and Jimmy Neesham (both of them are injured) but whether they get a chance to play remains to be seen.
Robin Uthappa will hold the key for KKR
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Probable Playing XI:
Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Andre Russell, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav
Like KKR, Mumbai Indians also haven’t made many changes to their squad and have kept faith in the likes of Lendl Simmons, Corey Anderson. The addition of the explosive batsman Aaron Finch and genuine wicket-taker Mitchell McClenaghan has been a great move by the franchise and team management, as it has added more fire-power to the squad. With four big hitters including skipper Rohit Sharma expected to be in their playing 11, KKR might have to go through a tough time.
Rohit Sharma will look to get a big one under his belt
Mumbai Indians’ Probable Playing XI:
Aaron Finch, Unmukt Chand, Corey Anderson, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Parthiv Patel (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Pragyan Ojha
Indian Premier League – 2015: Match 1- Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians, at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. April 8th, Start Time 20:00 (Local Time), 14:30 (GMT)