When the Mumbai Indians commenced their IPL 2020 campaign with a loss to the Chennai Super Kings, it seemed as if ghosts from the seasons past - read 2014 form in UAE - would come back to haunt Rohit Sharma's men.
However, now halfway through their campaign, the loss to CSK only seems like a minor blip and MI are comfortably placed in the top half of the IPL 2020 points table with five wins from seven matches.
Their only other loss came in a thrilling Super Over finish against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and post that game, MI have won four matches in a row.
MI's opponents for today, Dinesh Karthik's Kolkata Knight Riders have four wins from seven games, but what's interesting to note is the pattern of their wins so far.
After every loss, KKR have won two of their next matches and succumbed in their next game, with a set pattern defining their IPL 2020 campaign so far. KKR began their season with a loss to the Delhi Capitals and won their next two games - one each against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals.
The Knights then fell to an 18-run loss to the Delhi Capitals before they came up trumps first against the Chennai Super Kings, and then the Kings XI Punjab. As if destiny was to have its say, KKR were undone by a clinical performance from RCB and fell to an 82-run loss.
While this pattern might only be a mere coincidence, it certainly does expose the inconsistencies of KKR's campaign so far. The first time these two sides met earlier this season, a Rohit special (54-ball 80) was the highlight as KKR finished with just 146/9 in their chase of a 196-run target at the very venue where they will play today.
And, with Karthik's men clashing paths with a side in red hot form, the 35-year-old wicket-keeper batsman will hope to arrest the trend and inspire his side to a win in this Mumbai v Kolkata clash.
IPL 2020: MI v KKR Match Prediction
Rohit's men have hardly put a foot wrong in the tournament so far, with each and every player in the playing XI - barring Rahul Chahar - finding form with either bat or ball.
Quinton de Kock has two half-centuries from the last three matches, Suryakumar Yadav is MI's highest run-scorer with 233 runs from seven matches at a strike rate of 155.33.
Ishan Kishan has come out with a very positive intent and has mixed his innings with the right amount of caution and aggression, vindicated by his 15-ball 28 against DC that went under the radar owing to fifties from De Kock and Suryakumar.
While the middle order's form is undoubtedly a heartening sign for MI, skipper Rohit's returns in Abu Dhabi this season will be a major shot in the arm. Rohit has 202 runs from five matches at an average of 40.5 at Abu Dhabi, and what's more, the MI skipper's highest knock this season came at the same venue against KKR.
On the bowling front, all three members of MI's pace battery feature in the top 10 of the IPL 2020 Purple Cap list, and a large part of the side's success has come down to the performances dished out by the pace trio.
Against a KKR side that has struggled to nail down their ideal batting order, the MI pacers will be keen to make early inroads and cause more than a few problems for Karthik.
KKR do have a few more glaring issues though, with Jamaican superstar Andre Russell yet to find form even after seven matches this season. Russell has just scored 71 runs from six innings, and his off-colour show in the first half has forced Karthik to re-jig the batting order with every passing game.
On the bowling front though, Russell leads the charts for KKR with six wickets in seven matches and has also donned the role of his side's death bowler to good effect. However, Pat Cummins' lack of incisiveness could prove to be a concern for Karthik against a mighty MI batting unit, with the Australian pacer having just two wickets to his name so far.
And, KKR's troubles do not end there. With Sunil Narine finding himself on the benches alongside Kuldeep Yadav, KKR have had to depend on the relatively inexperienced trio of Prasidh Krishna, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Varun Chakravarthy to deliver with the ball.
The KKR bowlers leaked 83 runs in the last five overs against RCB, and while that might have been in the dimensionally-challenged ground in Sharjah, the quality of batsmen in the MI unit might just be too hard to tame for Karthik's bowlers.
Considering form and the overall balance of both units, MI look primed to continue their winning run, while KKR will hope for Russell to re-discover his lost mojo and inspire his side to an important win.
Prediction: MI to win today.Published 16 Oct 2020, 10:15 IST