Mumbai Indians face Northern Knights in a must win match
Mumbai Indians will face a stiff challenge from Champions League debutant Northern Knights in the final qualifier. Northern Knights – The team from New Zealand is unbeaten in the tournament so far. After clinching an easy win against Southern Express in the first match, they went on to thrash Lahore Lions to notch up another impressive win. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, got back much needed momentum as they defeated Southern Express by 9 wickets in their second match following a defeat against the Lahore Lions lions in their first match.
Taking positives from previous game, Mumbai Indians team management will be pleased that their batsmen are in good rhythm. Both the openers Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey batted brilliantly against the Southern Express. While chasing a target of 162, they got off to a cautious start but as the innings progressed both the batsmen looked sublime. Kieron Pollard also looked in good touch to socre a quick fire 20. Hussey was at his very best as he hit a 40-ball 60. But the top order needs to click for Mumbai, as their middle order is relatively weak in the absence of Rohit Sharma (injury) and Corey Anderson (can’t get in to team due to star studded team).
The bowling, on the other hand, is pretty mixed. The bowlers bowled very well in the first 10 overs conceding just 60 runs. However they totally lost the plot in the second part giving away 101 runs. Lasith Malinga is not looking close to his best, and one cannot blame the inexperienced Bumrah for giving away runs. Harbhajan and Ojha are bowling brilliantly though. Mumbai will be hoping for a better performance from their spearhead Malinga if they want to beat the Northern Knights.
Northern Knights are looking very strong in the qualifiers so far with two consecutive wins. In overcast conditions they batted first and managed to post 170 runs on the board, thanks to their captain Daniel Flynn and BJ Watling. The Knights scored 52 runs in the last five overs. The Knights have a strong batting order and with the likes of Ken Williamson and Scott Styris in the middle order, the openers can play freely.
The bowling department is very strong as well. Flynn knows that he has a new-ball attack that could dissect Test sides and it clearly showed against the Lions. Tim Southee and Trent Boult had the ball zipping around to have Lions 19 for 5 and went on to help the Knights win by 72 runs.
The win clearly moved Knights in a good position to qualify as they have a good run rate as well. But Mumbai will looking for a victory to qualify in the main round. So it will be a match to watch out for.
Northern Knights : AP Devcich, KS Williamson, DJ Harris, DR Flynn*, BJ Watling†, SB Styris, DJ Mitchell, SC Kuggeleijn, TG Southee, IS Sodhi, TA Boult
Mumbai Indians :LMP Simmons, MEK Hussey, AT Rayudu, KA Pollard*, AP Tare†, Harbhajan Singh, Jalaj S Saxena, S Gopal, SL Malinga, PP Ojha, JJ Bumrah