The two two-time champions the IPL will battle each other at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday. Kolkata Knight Riders, with Gautam Gambir and Chris Lynn as openers, demolished the Gujarat Lions bowling in their first game of IPL 2017. But Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, were defeated by Rising Pune Supergiant after facing spectacular knocks from Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith in their first match.
And now in their second match, as they go against KKR’s strong batting order, their bowling skills will be further scrutinised and tested. The likes of Gambir, Lynn, Pandey and Pathan will be a few of the players who are more than capable of destroying MI’s bowlers.
A major concern for the Mumbai team will be finding the perfect proper bowling combination, which was the reason for their downfall in their first game against the Rising Pune Supergiants. Harbhajan Singh will most likely feature for Mumbai against KKR but his average in the Wankhede stadium in 2016 was below par.
With Ambati Rayudu sustaining an injury which will keep him out for the next 10 days, the Mumbai Indians team management has a lot of thinking to do. The only good news for the team comes in the form of Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel, who gave a promising start to the team.
Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders should go into the game confident as their two openers did a superb job for their team. The team couldn’t have asked for a better start, with Lynn bringing his exceptional T20 form to the IPL. With a long middle-order and a reliable bowling attack, KKR look like a tough team to beat.
Kuldeep Yadav’s ability to break partnerships strengthens the bowling department, which is already standing strong with the likes of Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine. Shakib Al-Hasan, who has now joined the team after playing for the Bangladesh national team, further reinforces the attack.
The concern comes only in the form of the overseas bowling attack; Trent Boult and Chris Woakes conceded 75 runs in seven overs against the Gujarat Lions. This will be a worry against the batting of Mumbai headed by Rohit Sharma, who has scored three unbeaten half-centuries in their recent encounters.
Time: 2000 (IST)
Venue: Wankhede stadium, Mumbai
If KKR bat first
Gautam Gambir and Chris Lynn stood firm as openers and finished the game off with five overs remaining against Gujarat Lions. And even if the openers don’t give them a solid start, the KKR middle order is reliable and includes big hitters like Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan, to name a few.
If MI bat first
The Mumbai Indians depend on their openers to provide a good start to the team. The move to play Jos Buttler at a top-order position was an exceptional decision as the Englishman gave Mumbai a superb start in their first match of IPL 2017. Rohit Sharma is due a big innings, while Hardik Pandya and Nitish Rana have shown that they are no mugs with the bat. Depth in the batting line-up is their strength, but the bowling department of the opponents will be a challenge.
Predicted winners: Kolkata Knight Riders