Back Mumbai to improve after opening setback



Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians
Tuesday April 13th: 3.00pm BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Knight Riders make bold switch

KKR made a winning start to their campaign with a ten-run victory over Hyderabad on Sunday. Nitish Rana’s 80 from 56 balls secured the Player of the Match award and the opener received support from Rahul Tripathi who made 53 from just 29.

With Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik all held back until later in the innings, Kolkata’s batting looks in good shape.

The selectors made a bold decision to ditch Sunil Narine in favour of Shakib Al Hasan who returned to the franchise after a four-year absence. The Bangladesh all-rounder had little opportunity with the bat and claimed 1-34 but it’s a policy that the Knight Riders should stick with. Shakib offers more consistency with bat and ball as Narine’s effectiveness continues to dip.

Lynn blitz poses dilemma for Mumbai

With Quinton De Kock passing through quarantine, Mumbai Indians called up Australian Chris Lynn for their opener with RCB. Elsewhere, Marco Jansen was something of a surprise selection ahead of Nathan Coulter-Nile. The defending champions ultimately lost the game but defeat wasn’t down to either of the two debutants.

Lynn’s 49 from 35 balls provided Mumbai’s biggest contribution and it poses a selection dilemma ahead of Tuesday’s match with KKR. If De Kock is ready to return, he will surely walk back into the side but should the Indians retain Lynn who can be a consistently explosive force at the top of the order?

It’s tough to see which overseas player makes way if both Lynn and De Kock play but it’s a point to consider. Irrespective of that issue, Mumbai will have concerns over their middle order after that collapse from 135/3 to 159/9.

Return to Chennai

The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai hosts its third game of IPL 14 and both KKR and Mumbai have played their opening games here. Those two matches produced an average first innings score of 173 with the results split between the chasing side and the team taking first knock.

Back in 2019 when the IPL was last played in India, Chennai provided one of the slower surfaces in the competition with an average first innings score coming in at just 144 from eight matches. Coming back to 2021, the weather is unlikely to intervene as the forecast hints at minimal cloud cover so we should get the full 40 overs if needed.

The market could have been tighter after very different opening performances. KKR have the early points but Eoin Morgan’s team are a relatively distant outside bet at 2.285/4 while winless Mumbai are clear favourites at 1.774/5.

Before Mumbai began to dominate the IPL, they had a reputation for starting the tournament badly before scraping through to the playoffs at the death. That trend could be set to return and a big improvement is needed on Tuesday. The toss could obviously be important: Kolkata won from the front against SRH but the majority of recent T20 matches are going to the chasing side.

You may prefer to wait for that toss but I’m slightly favouring Mumbai. A number of players were poor against RCB and, collectively, there should be a significantly better performance this time out.

Knight Riders’ Eoin Morgan made just two against Sunrisers but the skipper had dropped himself down the order following that big partnership for the second wicket. If Mumbai are to deliver in the match result betting, they will need to claim the top three early and that should give Morgan more time at the crease.

In KKR’s top batsman market, Rana and Shubman Gill should start as favourites at around 3.55/2. That would leave Captain Morgan as a good value option at 4.03/1 or possibly higher. With more overs to negotiate, England’s world cup winning skipper is the second confirmed pick of the match.

The strategy is to make just two confirmed picks but there are plenty of options in other markets. Mumbai are favourites to hit the most sixes and, at odds of 1.9520/21, that could provide a better option for those who want to avoid the match result bet.

Alternatively, Mumbai should also carry a longer price in the highest first six overs market. I’m expecting a fast start from Rohit Sharma’s side and an explosive ending from the power hitters such as Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya.

should the Indians retain Lynn who can be a consistently explosive force at the top of the order?