The Indian Premier League is half-way through the playoffs with three teams still in contention to win the prestigious trophy. After two riveting encounters in Qualifier 1 and the Eliminator, it’s time for unveiling the second finalist after the Rising Pune Supergiant confirmed their berth with a win in Qualifier 1.
The contest between the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders in Bangalore will keep alive the hopes of one team and eliminate the other team from the tournament. While KKKR are oozing with confidence after their triumph over defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians will be looking to shed the disappointment of their defeat against Pune.
Players from both sides will need to stand up with vital performances for their teams to move into the Final. We present you the list of players who can turn a game on the head with telling shows with both bat and ball.
#5 Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir has been a prolific run scorer for the Kolkata Knight Riders and also has been an epitome of consistency and hard work. He has an aggressive outlook, but has a calm and composed head on his shoulders and makes wise decisions on the field.
The veteran left-hander has won two titles for the Knights and will be eyeing a third – which will make him the first captain in IPL history to win three titles for his side. But to do that the Knight Riders will have to emulate Hyderabad’s feat from last season – finishing fourth in the league table and win three games in a row to win the title.
KKR got rid of one game by defeating the Sunrisers Hyderabad, but not before stumbling during the early part of their chase. Gautam Gambhir’s 32 runs shepherded them a victory and he will be required to show the same form if Kolkata are to topple the Mumbai Indians.
#4 Parthiv Patel
Small in stature, but big at heart- Parthiv Patel has been Mumbai’s main man with the willow at the top of the order across the entire length of the season. He is currently Mumbai’s top run scorer in this edition of the Indian Premier League with 377 runs.
Not only has he piled on runs, but also has got them at a fair clip, helping Mumbai get off to flying starts on several occasions. No bowler has been able to perturb him into kerbing his natural instincts down as he carved them to all corners of the ground.
Mumbai stumbled to a defeat in the Qualifier 1, but Parthiv Patel impressed with another gutsy half-century. If Mumbai has to counter the in-form bowling unit of the Knight Riders, Parthiv Patel again has to come to the party again.
#3 Chris Lynn
Ever since the opening game of the tournament, Chris Lynn has stamped his authority both on the oppositions as well as the tournament. While his power hitting has turned heads, he has also displayed a responsible head by consistently scoring runs for the Knight Riders.
An average of 58.20 along with a strike rate of 187.74 is a palpable manifestation of Lynn’s stamp of authority over the bowlers. After being sent to open for the Knight Riders, he has been nothing but a revelation for his side.
In just six games, he has already powered to 19 sixes and his ability to clear the ropes will be required of coming to the fore for Kolkata Knight Riders to pocket the must-win encounter against the Mumbai Indians.
#2 Jasprit Bumrah
With his lethal toe-crushers and wily slower deliveries, Jasprit Bumrah has been Mumbai Indians’ go-to man during vital moments of a game. With Lasith Malinga not being in the best of forms, Bumrah has been entrusted to bowl during the death overs of a contest.
With 15 wickets at an economy of 7.77, he has lived up to his reputation of stifling the opposition down. The lanky pacer has looked out of sorts in patches, but overall he has been one of the main reasons why Mumbai finished at the top of the ladder in the league stage.
Even in Mumbai’s last encounter against Rising Pune Supergiants, he bowled three miserly overs before being launched into by M.S Dhoni in the final over of the innings. Bumrah has to rise to the occasion for Mumbai to qualify for the final.
#1 Nathan Coulter-Nile
Nathan Courter-Nile has been one of the many fast bowlers Kolkata Knight Riders picked up during the auctions of this edition’s Indian Premier League. And whilst he might have got limited opportunities he has certainly grabbed them with both hands by striking for the Knight Riders at regular intervals.
Among all the KKR bowlers, he currently possesses the best bowling strike rate of 10.08, which shows the dominance he has had over the batsmen. He also has 14 wickets to show for in seven games and has been a thorn in the flesh for his rivals.
Coming into the all-important clash with Mumbai Indians, the Australian is in good shape as he was able to strangle the Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman with a Man of the Match performance. KKR will again be banking on Courter Nile for wickets to push the Mumbai Indians back.