As the second qualifier of the Indian Premier League 2017 comes around, we take a look at the matchup at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium with Mumbai Indians playing Kolkata Knight Riders. Mumbai Indians are here after losing by 20 runs to Rising Pune Supergiant and Kolkata Knight Riders have made their place here due to a win over defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad by 7 wickets.
This field belongs fairly and squarely to Mumbai Indians. In the 20 matches between the two sides over the course of 10 seasons, Mumbai have won 15 matches of 20 played against KKR. And this season, too, the record stands in favour of the Rohit Sharma-captained MI. KKR lost both their matches from a reasonably strong position. At Wankhede, KKR failed to defend 59 from 23 balls with Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya producing superb knocks. And most recently in their last league game at home, KKR failed to chase 25 from 3 overs and lost wickets in a heap. That also resulted in them finishing fourth – as against the second they were destined for with a win.
KKR will have better measure of pitch
Bangalore’s pitch has been relaid and the runs haven’t flowed this season. The best this season has been 161 runs by Rising Pune Supergiant and even on Wednesday night, SRH had trouble getting the runs on the surface. This is where things fall into KKR’s lap. They have an understanding of how the pitch behaved when bowling – which they did fairly well – and then in the limited time in the middle, got some batting time too.
Rohit Sharma vs Gautam Gambhir
Both captains have a different style of approaching a game, behaving in a game and reacting to tough situations. While Rohit behaves rather calm and composed in tough and pressure situations, Gambhir has over a period of time developed an aggressive side to himself that sets him apart from the rest and possibly augurs well for the side and their push for a final spot. With the bat, Gambhir has been a boost for the side and sits second in the Orange Cap standings with 486 runs in 15 matches. Rohit, on the other hand, has 283 runs in as many matches.
Seam bowling is what defines both teams with variety of options – Indian and foreign – at the disposal of both team managements and captains. Where KKR have the likes of Umesh Yadav and Trent Boult, they were further reinvigorated with the services of Nathan Coulter-Nile who picked up 3 wickets against SRH. For Mumbai, Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah are top, top options for Rohit to use and they’ve both made the mark this season with 19 and 15 wickets respectively. If that’s not enough, Bumrah produced the goods for MI in the Super Over this season to highlight his supremacy to bowl in crunch situations such as a qualifier.
KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan rued the absence of more recovering time for the second playing team before the second qualifier. And that is where things could get tricky for Gambhir’s unit. Their match finished at nearly 1.30 AM and Coulter-Nile, too, pointed out that rules need to be looked at to avoid such late finish. But as it remains, KKR, despite playing a 26-over match with 3 hours of stoppage, would most likely be jaded. In comparison, MI have had time to rejuvenate, get their thoughts together after last playing in Mumbai on Tuesday.