IPL 2017 Qualifier 2, MI vs KKR: Mumbai Indians (MI) Today's probable playing 11 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Mumbai Indians' predicted playing XI for the knockout game against the Kolkata Knight Riders to be played in Bangalore.
A rain-forced scare had almost washed away Kolkata Knight Riders’ chances of making it to the virtual semi-final of the IPL before Gautam Gambhir decided to brave the mighty rain God and single-handedly carry his team on his back to the penultimate match of the season.
While Gambhir’s bravery and his audacity in the face of adversities were indeed commendable, the Mumbai Indians’ crumbling under the pressure of a qualifier against the Rising Pune Supergiant – the eventual finalists – perhaps, was the exact opposite.
Hence, when the Knight Riders clash against the team they have had the least amount of success against, they would have the advantage of having a winning momentum on their side. Underestimating Mumbai, though, would border on foolhardiness.
Mumbai have tasted defeats in the playoffs earlier as well, but never have they been this dominant in a season. Breaking their hoodoo of being slow starters and late bloomers, Mumbai have been dominant right from the inception of the season and had lost just 4 of their 14 games in the league stages before their loss to Pune in qualifier 1.
What their captain Rohit Sharma termed as “the worst performance this season” should necessarily be left behind as they prepare to take on a team they have often dominated, but that’s also a team that has been a neck-to-neck competitor.
Here’s the predicted playing XI.
Parthiv Patel showed in the last game what an asset he could be to a side. Although he couldn’t quite carry on and finish off the run-chase, one wouldn’t blame him for the loss as the regular fall of wickets at the other end had put an enormous amount of pressure on him. His attacking strokeplay at the beginning of an innings is what sets him apart from the rest and Mumbai have heavily banked upon the left-hander’s ability.
Rohit Sharma has been batting in the middle order for Mumbai this season, a move that can be debated upon given the profits that it has brought if any. A promotion to the top of the order would mean pushing Lendl Simmons down to No. 3, but that would also mean that Mumbai’s best batsman, considering long-term form and overall IPL stats would be batting at a position he isn’t accustomed to. That certainly doesn’t bode well for Mumbai, especially in a game as important as this one.
Lendl Simmons has been a revelation for Mumbai, and although he couldn’t deliver the goods in the last match, Mumbai have no option but to persist. For the way the Caribbean has batted this season and has acclimatized to the conditions, his team couldn’t have asked for a better replacement for Jos Buttler, who left the side to play for England against South Africa.
Ambati Rayudu, after being injured for most of the season, catapulted himself ahead of Nitish Rana and reclaimed his place in the side through a heroic half-century. While that certainly helped him retain his place for the playoffs, helped by Rana’s own lack of form, Rayudu would have to justify his retention by playing to his full potential in what could be his most crucial game of the season.
Kieron Pollard has been the pillar of Mumbai’s middle order. The Caribbean has successfully managed to tailor his game according to the conditions and has not only been an attacking mauler but has also been a sheet anchor. A man for the big occasions, Pollard would have to come in and play his role to perfection, if Mumbai are to win their third IPL title.
Hardik Pandya, apart from being electric in the field, hasn’t done complete justice to his batting and bowling skills. In a pressure situation against Pune, the right-hander gave away what looked to be a good start by miscuing a shot straight to the fielder in the deep. His all-round skills have been the reason why he has been included in the playing eleven for most game, and this game would be his litmus test.
Krunal Pandya, just like his brother, has been the all-rounder to go to for Mumbai While his left-arm orthodox spin may have got the better of AB de Villiers, there is no de Villiers in the tournament anymore and Pandya should look to find a way to stop the in-form top four of the Knight Riders. For that would be his greatest challenge, and in the absence of Harbhajan Singh in the squad, he might be asked to bowl in the powerplay overs.
Karn Sharma, the leggie, has found a way to break into the eleven ahead of the experienced Harbhajan and has proved his mettle too to some extent. The value that a leg-spinner brings to a T20 side cannot be underrated and Sharma has done justice to the role that was expected of him.
Mitchell McClenaghan has retained his place in the playing eleven despite being expensive and the reason for that is his knack for picking up wickets. He might have bowled a 24-run over in the last game and that might as well have been the difference between the two sides at the end of the day, but Mumbai are unlikely to leave out a bowler who has been immensely successful for them in terms of picking wickets.
Jasprit Bumrah, at a ripe young age of 23 has seen pressure situations from close quarters and one would expect that he might have grown accustomed to them by now. He would need all of that experience, whatever little he might have gained, in this game as Mumbai would bank on him to deliver at the death.
Lasith Malinga, the veteran, has had a lukewarm season, as far his exploits with the ball are concerned, but Mumbai would do well if they continue with the Lankan, as the pressure of a knockout game often gets to a young and inexperienced bowler. Malinga, one would reckon, would be Mumbai’s partnership breaker.