The IPL 2021 action shifts back to Chennai as two of the tournament's three most successful franchises, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Mumbai Indians(MI), lock horns in a high voltage encounter. After a thumping win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opening game, KKR will be high on confidence going into the all-important clash against Mumbai.
The Rohit Sharma-led MI, on the other hand, suffered a defeat at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening game of the tournament. The 5-time IPL champions will draw inspiration from their good record against KKR and will look to return to secure their first win of the tournament.
With both teams boasting of great balance and firepower in their squads, the game is certain to be a close one. Having said that, we look at three reasons why the Mumbai Indians are favourites to defeat Kolkata Knight Riders in today's IPL match.
1. KKR's middle order still looks underwhelming
Although Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi showed great promise at the top of the order for the men in Purple and Gold, the middle order saw yet another failure in KKR's game against SRH on Sunday.
Captain Eoin Morgan has been out of form for a long time now, and his string of low scores will hurt the KKR franchise going into the all-important clash against MI. Andre Russell, on the other hand, has been effective with the ball but has failed to deliver with the bat time and again.
The responsibility now comes falls on Dinesh Karthik to bail the team out in case of a top-order collapse. While the wicketkeeper-batsman showed promising signs with the bat with a quick cameo towards the end against SRH, a lack of support from other batsmen could hurt KKR today.
2. Marco Jansen's promising performances give MI an edge
The 6'8" South African was considered to be a shrewd purchase for the Mumbai Indians going into IPL 2021. Marco Jansen's performance with the ball against RCB was impressive as he picked up 2 wickets at an economy rate of 7.00 on his IPL debut.
Marco Jansen's left arm bowling and handy batting lower down the order bring a new dimension to the Mumbai Indians outfit. Bowling alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, the youngster is set to make an impact in IPL 2021.
3. Rohit Sharma's fine record for MI against KKR
Everyone in the cricket fraternity knows how destructive the Hitman can be when he gets going. Statistics show Rohit Sharma holds a brilliant record against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. The Mumbai Indians captain has scored an enormous 823 runs against KKR so far, 457 runs more than second-placed Suryakumar Yadav in the current MI squad.
Rohit Sharma has also scored his only IPL ton against the Knight Riders, and he will be more than keen on getting back to scoring runs for his franchise when the two teams meet today.
Opening the batsman alongside Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma plays a massive role in anchoring the Mumbai Indians' batting innings. His stability at the top of the order has the potential to tear apart any bowling attack in the world.
The skipper's presence also gives a free hand to finishers like Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard to play their shots and drive the Mumbai franchise to huge team totals.
MI and KKR have faced each other in 27 IPL encounters so far. The former has dominated the rivalry, having won 21 of the 27 games. Today's encounter promises to be an exciting one as the KKR have momentum behind them while MI will be hungry to secure their first win of IPL 2021.
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