Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Match 34 of Vivo IPL 2021 on Thursday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
MI lost their opening match on the resumption of IPL 2021, and are placed fourth in the points table, with four wins from eight games. They were beaten by Chennai Super Kings by 20 runs, despite being in control early in the match.
Their pacers broke through CSK's top order and reduced them to 24-4 at the end of the powerplay. However, a spirited fightback led by Ruturaj Gaikwad and a largely wicketless middle period cost MI. Bravo and Gaikwad helped CSK smash 69 runs in the last five overs to take them to a respectable total of 156-6.
Despite captain Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya not playing this game, MI had enough firepower to chase down the target. However, an unremarkable start and some poor shot selections from their key batters let MI down.
When Kieron Pollard was trapped in front by Josh Hazlewood in the 14th over, MI had an uphill task ahead. Eventually, they fell short by 20 runs, with Saurabh Tiwary remaining unbeaten on a 40-ball 50.
KKR, meanwhile, got their UAE leg off to an excellent start by obliterating RCB by nine wickets. After losing the toss and bowling first, Eoin Morgan's side put RCB under immediate pressure by dismissing their captain Virat Kohli early. They kept the pressure up, getting another wicket at the end of the powerplay.
Andre Russell and Varun Chakravarthy combined well in the middle overs to run through RCB's batting. While Russell sent ABD packing for a golden duck, Varun Chakravarthy spun a web around RCB's middle order, getting the wickets of Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga and Sachin Baby.
Eventually, RCB were bowled out for 92 runs in 19 overs, setting KKR a modest target to chase down. Their revamped opening combination of Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer made batting look easy. Their 82-run opening partnership helped KKR finish the game off in ten overs, and gain a massive NRR boost.
The last time MI and KKR met, KKR choked from a winning position to hand MI a ten-run victory. So they will be keen to avoid a repeat of the same. They have an opportunity to enter the top four with a win in this match. MI will look to win if they want to avoid entering a playoff dogfight with the other teams. So we're in for a cracker of a contest in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening.
IPL 2021: MI vs KKR Match Details
Date: September 23, 2021 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM IST
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
We're likely to get more of the same in Abu Dhabi, with another sunny and warm evening on the cards. The average temperature should be around 35 degrees celsius. Dew could play a role in the game.
Based on what was seen in the KKR-RCB game, batting at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium requires patience before batters play their shots. It's a predominantly seamer-friendly surface, with the odd ball sticking in the wicket. Batting second should be a better option, especially if there's some dew.
Rohit Sharma could be back to lead Mumbai Indians against KKR, and that would mean Anmolpreet Singh missing out. Saurabh Tiwary could make way for Hardik Pandya if the latter is fit, despite his half-century against CSK.
Mumbai Indians: Quinton De Kock (WK), Rohit Sharma (C)/ Anmolpreet Singh, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Saurabh Tiwary/ Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Adam Milne, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, and Jasprit Bumrah.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Having found what seems to be a solid team combination, KKR should go into this game unchanged. Andre Russell bowling four overs has allowed them to stock up their batting, which adds a more balanced look to their team.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, and Prasidh Krishna.
IPL 2021: MI vs KKR Match Prediction
While MI will be rejuvenated by the return of Rohit Sharma and possibly Hardik Pandya, they should find KKR an even match. The momentum and confidence of KKR heading into this game could see them notch up a second successive victory, though.
Prediction: KKR to win.
IPL 2021: MI vs KKR - TV and Live Streaming Details
TV: Star Sports Network.
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Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP.