What a little-rivalry this is turning out to be, having met just three days ago both Kolkata and Mumbai will do battle yet again in a bid to either secure or steal a top four spot. Mumbai got the job done against the Knight Riders last Sunday with a win at home, and this late charge for a spot in this year’s IPL playoffs could potentially see them miraculously-resurrect their 2018 campaign which looked all but dead & buried this time last week.
Kolkata’s efforts with the ball after winning the toss and electing to field backfired big time, Mumbai piled on 181/4 after keeping the visitors wicketless for more than nine overs leaving them in a tough but not impossible situation to wriggle out of. West Indian-duo Sunil Narine and Andre Russell were Kolkata’s only wicket takers for the innings, claiming two apiece in an otherwise-disappointing performance. Former Aussie quick Mitchell Johnson has to be looked at, his past four outings with the ball have been below-average not to mention ineffective. Figures of 0/42, 0/38, 0/51 & 0/25 suggests that Johnson isn’t the man for the job as the specialist overseas seamer, he’s taken just two wickets in six IPL matches in 2018. As far as their bowling unit goes, the Knight Riders only have three proven wicket takers who can consistently extract wickets more often than not, Andre Russell has been able to contribute a lot more with the ball in this second half of the season while Sunil Narine continues to produce the goods when called upon. It’s no great secret that Kolkata rely-heavily on their batting line-up, and why shouldn’t they given the amount of stroke-makers that feature in it. 18-year-old Shubman Gill’s promotion up the order may be short-lived, but it’s not like he was thrown up there for no particular reason, the teenager has recently found form down the order with the bat adding even more depth to a powerhouse-batting unit. Skipper Dinesh Karthik has just about been their most reliable batsman in 2018, I’d go as far to say that he’s been the Knight Riders best performer with the bat in IPL 11. It may sound strange given his top score in the tournament is only 45 not out, but he’s still racked up 316 runs at 52.66 which can’t be discounted. There’s no way the Knight Riders can lose back-to-back games against the underperforming-Mumbai at home…is there?
A third win on the trot would be some sort of achievement given that they didn’t even have three wins in the tournament up until that stage! If anyone was going to make a quick dash at the top four after starting the tournament so poorly, it had to be the reigning IPL champions who now sit fifth (one game below the Knight Riders). A magnificent win over the Kolkata Knight Riders last Sunday really did pencil them in for one of the greatest comebacks in the IPL’s short history, to think that they were almost a certainty to be ruled out of the playoffs race early last week…what a difference a couple games make. Mumbai can’t afford to lose momentum now, as inspirational as they’ve been in their past four games, a loss would just about unravel all their good work up until this point. It’s a well-known fact that good teams just find a way to win, in Mumbai’s case they’re starting to live by that logic and probably feel like they’re one more win away from turning the competition back on its head. Consecutive fifties to Suryakumar Yadav at the top of the order followed by the Pandya brothers who are both starting to find form again really does give you the impression that Mumbai mean business. The 2017 champions are backing in Kiwi seamer Mitchell McClenaghan to get the job done for them a second time, he was a key contributor in Mumbai’s IPL 10 campaign and could be just as integral again. This is the area of the game where Mumbai probably have the wood over the Knight Riders, compared to Kolkata’s three relied upon bowlers, Mumbai just about doubles that with McClenaghan, Bumrah, Markande and the Pandya brothers who’ve all proven to be reliable wicket taking options for them in 2018. With the possibility of playoffs looming, skipper Rohit Sharma needs to start finding some continuity in his own game. The 31-year-old has had another inconsistent IPL, almost following in his footsteps from 2017 where he averaged a lacklustre 23.78 despite his team’s success.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kolkata Knight Riders | 41st match | Kolkata
- Chris Lynn
- Sunil Narine
- Dinesh Karthik
- Andre Russell
- Nitish Rana
Wildcard pick – Kuldeep Yadav
Top 5 fantasy picks | Mumbai Indians | 41st match | Kolkata
- Hardik Pandya
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Krunal Pandya
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Rohit Sharma
Wildcard pick – Mayank Markande
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Chris Lynn 2. Sunil Narine 3. Robin Uthappa 4. Nitish Rana 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 6. Shubman Gill 7. Andre Russell 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Tom Curran/Mitchell Johnson 10. Prasidh Krishna/Shivam Mavi/Vinay Kumar 11. Kuldeep Yadav.
Mumbai Indians (possible) – 1. Suryakumar Yadav 2. Evin Lewis 3. Ishan Kishan (wk) 4. Rohit Sharma © 5. Hardik Pandya 6. JP Duminy/Kieron Pollard 7. Krunal Pandya 8. Ben Cutting 9. Mitchell McClenaghan 10. Mayank Markande 11. Jasprit Bumrah.