On a roll with four consecutive wins, Mumbai Indians will definitely have an upper hand when they face old foes Kolkata Knight Riders in game number 32 of IPL 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
While Mumbai have gone from strength to strength as the tournament has progressed, Kolkata have struggled for consistency, having registered four wins and three losses. Spinner Sunil Narine being reported for a suspect action by the umpires has only made matters tougher for them.
MI go into the contest against KKR having won the battle against Delhi Capitals by five wickets, putting in a thoroughly professional effort with both bat and ball. KKK, in contrast, were insipid against RCB, and got badgered by 82 runs.
With KKR looking to compete on even terms with MI, here’s a look at some player battles that can make a difference to the match.
#1. Rohit Sharma vs Pat Cummins
Mumbai and KKR met at this very venue at the start of the tournament, in which the defending champions got the better of Kolkata by 49 runs. MI skipper Rohit Sharma was the batting star on that occasion with a sublime 80 from 54 balls.
Rohit would look to repeat the feat on Friday as well. While he has only registered one other fifty since the knock against Kolkata, he has looked fluent most times he has come out to bat, even if the stint has been short. So he is definitely in good touch.
During his knock against KKR, Rohit was extremely severe on Pat Cummins. The fast bowler, purchased for a record Rs 15.5 crore, went for a whopping 49 in his three overs.
Since then, Cummins has come up with some good performances, especially in the match against Rajasthan Royals, where he made Steve Smith look like novice before dismissing him. Still, with just two wickets from seven matches, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Cummins hasn’t lived up to his expectations. He can start making amends by making life difficult for Rohit.
#2. Eoin Morgan vs Rahul Chahar
KKR's new skipper Eoin Morgan has been a star performer in the middle-order. He has used his experience and innovative stroke-play to good effect to make an impact in the middle and end overs.
Morgan has notched up 175 runs in seven games at a strike rate of nearly 130. He has been the only batsman to have successfully taken Purple Cap holder Kagiso Rabada. If he’s in to bat, Morgan will once again hold the key to KKR’s progress in the last five to seven overs.
Young Mumbai leggie Rahul Chahar has made a mark in IPL 2020 with his consistency and his ability to stand up to some of the legends in the game. Both him and KXIP’s leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi have displayed tremendous heart in the wake of tough challenges. Chahar, so far, has seven wickets to his name at a strike rate of 20.57 and an economy of 7.75.
The last time these two teams met, Chahar put up an impressive display, picking up 2 for 26. He trapped a well-set Dinesh Karthik lbw for 30. With Morgan being a smart player of spin and having vast experience, Chahar will have to be at his very best to compete with the KKR batsman.
#3. Suryakumar Yadav vs Varun Chakravarthy
After a few disappointing knocks in which he gifted his wicket away, Suryakumar Yadav has come into his own in the last few innings. He was the man of the match with an unbeaten 79 from 47 against Rajasthan, and added another quick fifty in the victory over Delhi Capitals in the last match.
With 233 runs in seven games at a brilliant strike rate of 155.33, Yadav’s rich vein of form has been pivotal to MI’s four-match unbeaten streak. He will be keen to carry on the good work.
KKR’s mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy has made a significant impact in IPL 2020 with his variations. Although he has only five wickets in eight matches, he has kept things reasonably tight, going at under eight an over. Most of his victims have been big names. He dismissed David Warner against SRH, Rahul Tewatia versus Rajasthan, Shikhar Dhawan against Delhi and MS Dhoni in the triumph over Chennai.
Bowling in the middle overs against Mumbai, he is likely to come up against Yadav. Chakravarthy will look to have his number as well, in what could be an interesting tussle.Published 16 Oct 2020, 14:43 IST