New Delhi: Hosts KKR will take on MI at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. This is a matchup between two teams separated by a place on the points table. KKR is fourth while late bloomers have climbed to the fifth spot. Click here for scores.
For KKR, MI is a threat as the visitors have claimed victories at this venue in the past and consider this to be the home away from home. Rohit Sharma, MI skipper, has had wonderful memories at the Eden Gardens and he will be expected to stand up on Wednesday.
Both teams hang by a thread and wins are imperative to keep the playoff hopes alive. A slip up here could make things complicated.
For KKR, the middle order hasn't performed the way it should have. After a superb start, Nitish Rana has been experiencing a slump and that puts pressure on Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell later.
On the other hand, MI has picked up the pace and will be looking to bulldoze apposition with their momentum. Finally, MI have come together as a unit and are delivering important wins in their trademark fashion.
Both teams have four matches left in the round-robin league, but KKR have won five matches one more than MI as a loss for any of the two sides may complicate their play-off aspirations. For KKR to overcome the past, Sunil Narine once again will have to play a crucial role both with the bat and ball.
A dehydrated Narine had to bat lower down the order in their previous clash and it did not help their 182-run chase. Narine will look to be back at the top and set them up with a fiery start. Sharma is a vital cog in MI's batting as Narine will be KKR's answer with his exploits against the opponent skipper who has been dismissed six times by the Trinidadian.
But Narine will need more backing from the other bowlers especially their pacers who have been a big let down this season. Be it veteran Mitchell Johnson or Tom Curran, both have been expensive, while all-rounder Andre Russell seems to be underbowling to preserve his troubled hamstring.
Shivam Mavi was forced to sit out with a finger injury and in his absence Prasidh Krishna did a reasonable job as it remains to be seen whether the U19 World Cup winning pacer would be back in action.
With 71 required from 48 balls and a well-set Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana in the middle, KKR's chase looked under control before they were done in by a barrage of short balls. Both Rana and Russell got out to short balls and were dismissed with addition of just 19 runs after Uthappa's fall to derail their chase which seemed achievable.
Hardik Pandya, who has 14 wickets from nine matches, will be a threat with both his smart bowling and aggressive batting. Ben Cutting was expensive with the ball with Uthappa easily smashing him for four boundaries in a row as a specialist bowler in Mustafizur Rahman may seem to be a better choice.
Uthappa's first half-century (54) after 10 matches may seem to have given their fragile middle-order some relief as captain Dinesh Karthik will hope to get their act together.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R. Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McLenaghan, Mustafizur Rahaman, Jasprit Bumrah, Akila Dananjaya, Ben Cutting, JP Duminy, Rahul Chahar, Sharad Lumba, Adam Milne, Siddhesh Lad, Md Nidheesh, Mohsin Khan, Anukul Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Tajinder Singh, Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary.