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The teams placed at the bottom of the table are finally winning some matches and that is sure to make for an intriguing finish to this season. One of the teams that has absolutely no more room for any error is the Mumbai Indians. Just three wins from their nine matches has put them in a position from where they need to every one of their remaining matches. It sounds difficult but it has been done before. Winning at home was something that the Mumbai Indians took for granted in previous years and that is exactly what they will need to do again to stand a chance of qualifying.
Their opponents for this match are the Kolkata Knight Riders, a team that is sitting comfortably in the top half of the table. KKR has really started to peak at the right time and could be a potential finalist if things go their way. They have the players to travel to Mumbai and beat the Mumbai Indians but know that the challenge cannot be underestimated.
Rohit Sharma and his team won their last match and are going to be coming into this contest full of confidence. They overcame a strong CSK team and seemed to have to got their playing combination just right. Their tactics in the match, though, left a lot to be desired and we have a feeling these will be shown up sooner rather than later.
It is beyond our understanding how players of the calibre of Rohit Sharma and JP Duminy can be shunted down to number 5 and number 7 position respectively. The idea might be to add some depth to the batting and have experienced players in the dugout to help navigate the chase but it just means that the best players play next to no role in most of the matches.
This cannot be the way that the Mumbai Indians try to win all their remaining matches. Mohit Sharma must move up the number three and be followed by JP Duminy at 4. This still leaves the Panda brothers, Ishan Kishan, and Ben Cutting to follow in case some early wickets fall.
Surely the team has enough confidence in this stacked batting lineup to be able to play their way out of any situation. If all of these players are not going be enough then reshuffling the batting order is not going to do them any good.
Mumbai is a venue where teams can find it very tough to know how many runs are enough batting first. If the Mumbai Indians end up having to bat first against KKR then they must ensure that they leave nothing in the bank and score as many runs as possible.
Mumbai’s bowling has plenty of variety and depth in it as well. The form of Jasprit Bumrah is a plus and Mayank Markande has shown himself to be a very capable spinner as well. Mitchell McClenaghan, Ben Cutting, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, and JP Duminy are all capable of bowling their overs of required.
Perhaps the biggest problem for Rohit Sharma will be to ensure he is giving adequate opportunities to each bowler.
SA Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Jean-Paul Duminy, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, MJ Mcclenaghan, Mayank Markande, JJ Bumrah.
KKR played a near flawless match against CSK to chase down a stiff target with plenty of overs to spare. Mitchell Johnson had a tough game for KKR and might be replaced by Tom Curran but we would stick with the old warhorse for this match.
Mitchell Johnson has a lot of experience playing in Mumbai and can utilize the extra bounce that the pitch offers. He would love to come back to his old franchise and leave a mark but whether he gets an opportunity to do so remains to be seen.
Apart from Johnson, though, all the other KKR players had a night to remember. KKR’s bowling attack is going to be severely tested on a flat Mumbai wicket. Piyush Chawla, Shivam Mavi, and Kuldeep Yadav could all travel at this ground and so the onus has to be on the senior bowlers for this match.
Sunil Narine and Andre Russell are the two bowlers that we think could be the toughest for the Mumbai Indians to face. Narine has been having a good IPL and showed that he can still put the brake on the scoring very effectively in the last match.
Andre Russell has the ability to generate excellent pace and utilizes the short ball well. It can backfire on an off day but could also bring some wickets if he has a little luck.
If KKR can gets its bowling to fire then we have no doubt that their batsmen will be able to match Mumbai’s batting strength. Chris Lynn is our guy to watch for this match.
He is coming into this match in good form and likes the ball coming on to the bat. McClenaghan, Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya might be the perfect pace for him to tee off but he will most likely be faced with spin early on.
Robin Uthappa, Shuibman Gill, Dinesh Karthik, and Andre Russell all make for a fearsome batting lineup. Gill’s promotion to number four was very good and allowed the youngster to play his normal game.
We would ideally have Gill open the inning with Lynn but the team management seems content to let Narine go up the order and swig his bat around.
KKR will be aware that playing Mumbai at their home ground is not easy, especially now that the Mumbai Indians have no option but to come hard at them. They do have the ammunition to withstand the onslaught, though.
Chris Lynn, SP Narine, RV Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, MG Johnson, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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There is no chance of rain currently predicted for the match. A typical hot and humid Mumbai day is in store. The pitch at the Wankhede stadium is the best for batting in the entire country. The boundaries are small and the ball will come on to the bat. There is next to nothing for the bowlers and they must wait for mistakes from the batting side.
The side which bats better will win this game and it could well come down to one big inning that defines the match.
The Mumbai Indians have beaten the Kolkata Knight Riders in their last five matches. They come into this match with a poor record so far but we think they will be very hard to beat at home. That being said, KKR is a very good team and is getting a lot of things right of late.
We are going to go with the visitors in this match.
Back the Kolkata Knight Riders to win.