Chance for MI to make amends against a spirited KKR

The Overview:

Has the Mumbai Indians bowling attack lost a bit of sting? Does Jasprit Bumrah need more support? And are MI missing a gun legspinner? They’ve had three days to digest the loss against Rajasthan Royals – their second in the season – and as things stand, there are no straightforward answers. MI were in a winning positionagainst Delhi Capitals but were let down in the death overs while Jos Buttler’s sensational ton left themwith another unkind cut.

In a long tournament, early jitters aren’t always fatal but MI will be well aware that they have several issues to fix. Ishan Kishan’s panache at the top order and Tilak Varma’s promise has given the side to build on, but finishing, in the last two matches, has been an issue. Kieron Pollard and Tim David haven’t fired and the clash against Kolkata Knight Riders could well be the perfect opportunity to get the campaign going.

KKR too have issues to sort but two wins in three matches have given their side the momentum. KKR want their batters to be fairly aggressive and that could hold the key against Bumrah and Co. Brendon McCullum spoke about wanting his batters to “add a little bit of craft” to their approach to reap better rewards. Umesh Yadav has been prolificand the addition of Pat Cummins could well help KKR sort out their death bowling issues. As things stand, MI walk into the contest with more areas to improve than KKR.

When: KKR vs MI, Match 14, April 6, 19:30 IST

Where: Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune

What to expect: Pune has been very kind to the bowlers bowling in the second innings. In the previous two matches, bowlers have been able to defend their scores and dew hasn’t played a major part. However, it’s unlikely the captain winning the toss will want to bat first.

IPL Head to Head: KKR 7-22 MI. The last time these two sides met, in Abu Dhabi last year, KKR eased past MIby seven wickets.

Team Watch:

Kolkata Knight Riders

Unavailable:Aaron Finch

Tactics & Match-ups:Andre Russell was at his destructive best against PunjabKings and his half-century eased the side to a win after a wobble. However, when facing MI, he will be against his nemesis Bumrah. The all-rounder has been dismissed thrice in the last 61 deliveries by Bumrah and averages just 20.33. KKR also have a death-overs problem with Tim Southee, Russell, Venkatesh Iyer and Shivam Mavi leaking runs in the end. The introduction of Cummins will allow Shreyas Iyer to breathe a bit easy.

Probable XI:Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings (wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee/Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy.

Mumbai Indians

Tactics & Match-ups:Umesh has provided KKR early wickets in all three matches so far but Rohit has a very impressive record against the pacer. He strikes his runs at above 150 and averages over 35. The MI captain, however, struggles against Sunil Narine that battle has the potential to dictate how the innings unfolds. Narine will also be key to how KKR stop Pollard with the spinner dismissing the batter four times in 71 balls and has given away just 74 runs.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Anmolpreet Singh/Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Kieron Pollard, Tim David, Daniel Sams, Murugan Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Tymal Mills, Basil Thampi.

Did you know?

– KKR have won all their matches they’ve played at the MCA stadium in Pune.

– Rohit has scored over 1000 runs against KKR at an average of 46.14 with one century and six half-centuries.

What they said –

“Pretty delighted to get Pat back. He is a wonderful human being and can blend with the environment easily. An absolute beauty, a wonderful cricketer and a strong leader as well so he’s going to add another layer of leadership in and around our skipper Shreyas, who has been impressive as well” – Brendon McCullum.

“Our first two games were on different grounds, so each ground has different characteristics of the pitch. Having no experience playing there before, it’s something to get used to. Like I said, there’s no time in the IPL to take three or four games to try and get into the tournament. It’s been a good experience so far. I’ve learned from the games so far and I’m sure all the guys have. I’m looking forward to having some good performances coming up” – Tim David.

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