The two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders will square up in a thriller of a contest on Friday night at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on May 19 in IPL 2017.
Both the teams have finished among the top four teams in the group stage while displaying best in the field of cricket which is followed by hiccups in the business end of the Twenty20 competition.
Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians side topped the group table with 20 points after winning ten matches whereas, Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders in eight wins out of 16 games they have played in the tenth edition of IPL.
The power-packed performances from both the teams have been the reason to see them just a shot away from the coveted trophy.
However, in the first Qualifier, Mumbai Indians was thrashed by Rising Pune Supergiant by 20 runs at its fortress Wankhade, when the hosts were able to register 142 for nine on board, in a bid to chase down the target of 163 runs.
In the list of top ten wicket-takers this season, Mumbai’s premier bowler Mitchell McClenaghan is placed at number three, the left-arm New Zealander has bagged 19 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 26.68.
On the other side, Chris Woakes of Knight Riders is at seventh position with 17 wickets in 13 matches. Umesh Yadav is at the tenth number with 16 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 18.75.
With back-to-back matches for Knight Riders, they clinched a win against David Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad in the rain-marred match by seven wickets in an eliminator after the target (129) was reduced to 48 in six overs owing to Duckworth-Lewis Method, keep an eye on fatigue factor.
Interestingly, the second innings started at 1:00 AM on Thursday following a collective effort from ground-staff, who made the game possible.
Moreover, Sunrisers, who posted 128 for seven thanks to superb bowling performance especially from Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav, who contained Sunrisers batsman on a wicket which seemed to be on a bit slow side.
For Kolkata Knight Riders, Gambhir is the second leading scorer of this IPL edition with 486 runs in 14 matches, Manish Pandey is at number seven with 396 runs and Robin Uthappa at ninth place with 387 runs in 13 matches.
Interestingly, Mumbai Indians is yet to see their batsman in the top ten run-getters in this season.
Tracking The Strength:
After failing to make it straight into the season 10 final of IPL, Mumbai Indians would be relying on opening batsmen Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons for the rousing start, before middle-order could chip-in with much required contribution.
Kieron Pollard could play the key role for his side as he has that knack to score some quickfire runs — to give their bowlers a decent target to defend or can simply the equation by chasing down the target.
Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya have had to play a huge role in the late middle-order while giving their best both with the bat and a ball.
However, it would be Mitchell McClenaghan, who has been handy with the ball for Mumbai Indians particularly in the powerplay overs while picking the wickets at regular intervals in this season.
Skipper Rohit Sharama is expected to shoulder the responsibility in this mini-final as Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga has to cut out the task and they have also an important role to play in death overs.
Both the teams have a good bowling department including players like Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile followed by Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who chipped in with wickets while complementing for each other when at times nothing did not seem to have gone well for both Men in Blue and Purple respectively.
Both the sides rely more on bowling department whereas, ground fielding is expected to play a massive role with players like Kieron Pollard coming into the action-packed game.
Moreover, Kolkata’s batting has been up and down, but Chris Lynn has given his best with the bat after recovering from shoulder injury whereas, Sunil Narine, who has been used as the punt, also played couple of cameos.
Gautam Gambhir, who led his team from the front, saw Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey doing well during the crucial junctures of the game. However, they are looking forward to see Yousuf Pathan stepping onto the gas.
Mumbai Indians have been a difficult unit for Knight Riders which has been further receiving the hammering from Mumbai outfit. In head to head contests, Mumbai is leading by 15-5 score which further showed how the unit has dominated one of the strongest IPL franchises.
Earlier, on April 9, while playing their second match of the ongoing season, Mumbai Indians thrashed Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets with a ball to spare before claiming a nine-run win at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Both the teams are supposed to give their hundred per cent as there is no room for the error in the do-or-die match.
With Mumbai having an edge, Kolkata has also produced some brilliance on field to take clear notice of the things.
We are predicting team batting second would emerge as a winner which would face-off Rising Pune Supergiant in the Grand Finale of IPL 2017 on May 21.
Following the action closely, the Bengaluru surface has nothing much on offer in this edition, but while considering the fact, both the teams have decent batting unit to post significant total on board.
Team batting first would post 165 on board. And we may see winner in the form of Mumbai Indians even after losing out the first qualifier against Steven Smith-led side earlier in this week.