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IPL 2017 MI vs KKR: Mumbai Indians (MI) Today's probable playing 11 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Match 54

Mumbai Indians' probable playing XI for tonight's match against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Mumbai would look to get back to winning ways before entering the playoffs

The Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders meet at the Eden Gardens tonight to establish their ascendance at the top of the points table and make sure that they are in with a chance to qualify directly for the final of the tournament.

While Mumbai have already qualified for the playoffs, KKR are almost there, with a win tonight confirming the same. Even if they don’t win, they would have to lose by a huge margin and then wait for the results of the other game to wait and see if their chances are dented in any manner by the other teams.

Speaking of the teams, KKR and MI boast of two of the most settled sides in the league and an intense competition is expected to be on the cards. Power-packed lineups on either side, comprising of players like Gautam Gambhir, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard, could make for a high-scoring affair, especially on a small ground such as the Eden.

Mumbai would look to gain a winning momentum going into the playoffs and at the same time would look to finalize on a playing XI to play possibly two of the most important games of the league. Here’s the playing XI for tonight’s game.

Parthiv Patel has been the unsung hero in the MI line-up. Be it with Jos Buttler or Lendl Simmons, Patel has played the role of the second-fiddle as well as the aggressor as the need has been, and has been instrumental in Mumbai's success so far in the tournament. He would look to play freely at the top of the order and provide his team with brisk starts at the top of the order.

Lendl Simmons seems to have been batting in the nets all throughout the course of the IPL, even while he wasn’t playing. His form and the string of half-centuries that he has stitched up certainly indicate nothing but that. His partnership with Patel at the top of the order has completely made up for the absence of Jos Buttler and Mumbai would hope that they don’t miss the Englishman even in the playoffs.

Nitish Rana, the surprise package for Mumbai this season, has made the No. 3 spot his own and has delivered whenever his team has demanded a performance of him. The left-hander has been one of the most prolific batsmen for his team this season and would look to build on his rich vein of form going into the playoffs.

Rohit Sharma has averaged only 27 with the bat this season. However, his lack of form has been overshadowed by the performances of some of the other batsmen in the team and moreover, his proactiveness when it comes to captaincy has been the reason behind several of Mumbai’s come-from-behind victories.

Kieron Pollard, the big West Indies batsman, has played the role of an efficient middle-order cog in the Mumbai line-up and has played several match-winning innings. Pollard, this season, hasn’t just limited himself to the role of the finisher or a pinch hitter per se but has taken a larger responsibility in terms of building the innings in case there is a top-order collapse.

Hardik Pandya, in the absence of his elder brother, Krunal, has taken up the responsibility of the sixth bowler in the side and has bowled decently, be it with the new ball or in the middle overs. A member of the Indian squad for the Champions Trophy, Pandya’s form with the bat and the ball would not only be crucial for the Mumbai Indians but it would also help India’s cause in their title defence.

Karn Sharma, with his ability to hit a long ball, and bamboozle the batsmen with his variations of leg spin, had been a late bloomer for the Mumbai Indians and has been a perfect fit for the side, in the absence of Krunal Pandya. Leg-spinners have always been in demand in T20 cricket and Mumbai have used theirs quite efficiently so far.

Harbhajan Singh, the veteran, has Mumbai’s best spinner this season, both in terms of picking up wickets as well as containing the opposition batsmen. The 35-year-old hasn’t shied away from bowling in the powerplays and has plied his trade equally well during the middle overs. Going into the playoffs, Harbhajan’s form would play a crucial role in Mumbai’s success.

Mitchell McClenaghan has been a wicket-taking option for the Mumbai Indians and despite his high economy rate, Mumbai have persisted with him in their line-up and have bene rewarded for such a persistence. His pace and the lack of it on occasions have proved out to be a good maneuver to fox the opposition batsmen.

Jasprit Bumrah, with his back-of-a-length balls, slower ones, and the toe-crushing yorkers has been the man to go to for the Mumbai Indians in all situations. The 23-year-old, given his age, has performed exceedingly well and has handled the pressure of death overs like a matured veteran. His fielding and catching, though, is a cause for concern, and so is his problem with overstepping.

Tim Southee has not been given many opportunities this season, and although this stage of the league doesn’t warrant a change, given Malinga’s poor form with the ball over the past few games, maybe a change at the bottom of the order could usher in something new, as far as the bowling is concerned. Southee’s six-hitting ability may also come handy.

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