About the Match
The Lions registered a comeback win against Kolkata Knight Riders by 6 wickets to take the 2nd spot on the table with 16 points; they will take on Mumbai Indians, who are placed 5th with 14 points, on 21st May at Kanpur. Mumbai Indians also come here at the back of a massive win by 80 runs against Daredevils and will fight hard to make it to the next stage; both sides have match-winners in their teams and they will definitely come out with all their firepower to wrestle their way into victory here.
Dwayne Smith’s astounding bowling figures of 4-8 led to the toppling of the KKR top-order and along with contributions from Jakati, Bravo and Kulkarni, the Lions restricted the opponents to a measly 124 runs. Suresh Raina returned to the captain’s role and led from the front with a superb unbeaten 53 to steer his team towards victory yet again; Finch also contributed well with the bat and they won the match by 6 wickets to reclaim the 2nd position on the table.
When they had met Mumbai Indians previously in the tournament, Finch had scored a brilliant 67 off 54 to help chase down 144 runs with ease; the bowlers had provided quick breakthroughs as Kulkarni and Tambe took 2 wickets each and Jakati, Faulkner and Bravo claimed a wicket each to stifle the opposition. They have had a good run all the way but their recent defeat against RCB put them in a tough spot; in that match, the bowlers had been costly against the Kohli-ABD duo and the batting line-up crumbled under pressure during chase for 249 runs, getting all-out for just 104 runs.
The win against KKR has once again put them in a good position but they will not take Mumbai lightly; with Raina back in action and others like McCullum, Finch and Smith doing well, the Lions are well placed to take the top spot.
They won a crucial game against Daredevils by a massive 80 runs thanks to the heroics of Krunal Pandya, who scored an amazing 86 from just 37 balls that consisted of 6 sixes and 7 boundaries to post a gigantic total of 206 batting first. Martin Guptill and Rohit Sharma started the innings well but it was Pandya and Guptill’s 98-run stand for the 2nd wicket that helped them to a great extent. Bumrah then showed his class as he took 3-13 while Krunal played an all-rounder role by taking 2-15 to win the player of the match award.
However, against Kings XI previously, the batsmen had put up a dismal show with Rayudu and Chand getting duck-out and Sharma and Buttler being unable to build partnerships. Pollard and Rana tried to keep the scoreboard ticking but they could only get to 124 in the end, which was difficult to defend despite a good show by Southee and McClenaghan, who took 3 wickets between them.
They will need to pull up their socks and come out all guns blazing against the Lions here if they want to keep their campaign alive.
It’s a neutral venue but the fans will pick their sides on Saturday; while Mumbai has good batting and bowling resources, we feel that the Lions have the X-factor to win the contest here