Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders
Friday October 16, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Local pair proving invaluable in the middle-order
Mumbai will feel pretty happy about life right now, having overcome a slow start to go on excellent run that has seen them go top, in the process beating the other side that has already impressed this year- the Delhi Capitals. Sunday’s win may only have come with a couple of balls to spare ‘on paper’ but the run chase was pretty straightforward all way through.
That was mostly down to an authoritative knock from Quinton de Kock, who has finally found some form with two fifties in his last three matches, but the heavy lifting was done by the bowlers. Three of their frontline bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar – went for less than seven an over, and that’s a great springboard for winning any game.
One of the less-talked-about reasons for their success is the presence of two Indian players at three and four: Suryakamur Yadav and Ishan Krishan. Their nous and fearlessness has been invaluable so far.
Windies duo causing concern
Plenty for Kolkata to think about. Sunil Narine is on a last warning about his bowling action and last time out they left him out altogether but it’s not completely clear if that means they’re not going to play him at all or are waiting for him to work on it. Or maybe they’re saving him for the latter stages and don’t want to risk him now.
But there might not be any latter stages in terms of play-offs unless they get their act together. In their last game the plan was to play Tom Banton as an opener in Narine’s (overseas) place and though it didn’t really come off, you can see the logic behind it if the Trinidadian is left out because that’s an area they’ve struggled in.
They could do with Ande Russell finding some form with the bat. He’s meant to be their X-Factor player but though he’s taken a few wickets in the few overs he’s bowled, he hasn’t played a game-changing innings yet.
It’s 5/71.7 Mumbai and that’s a perfectly understandable price given the circumstances: the side who’s top of the table up against one who has the problems we’ve just mentioned and is just about mid-table.
If you’re looking for reasons to side with a favourite rather than thinking of reasons to side with an outsider, consider this: in 26 times they’ve played each other in the IPL, Mumbai have won 20 of them.
The problem Kolkata have is that though they’d like to follow the recent trend of batting first, they probably don’t have the weapons to think they can defend anything under 170. And getting to 170 is easier said than done.
Some top batsmen markets are pretty hard to call in the IPL but the KKR one might be easier to decipher than most.
We’re going to rule out Banton (10/3) on the back of him not having enough IPL experience for someone at that price, and Ntish Rana because 7/2 is also a price reserved for top players, not good ones who happen to bat at three.
Eoin Morgan is somewhat out of form and has batted as low as six so we’re not interested in the 4/1 about him, Dinesh Karthik only has one good innings to show for his efforts and is another to avoid, albeit at a far bigger price (8/1) and Russell hasn’t found is groove on these UAE pitches so is also one to swerve at 5/1, also taking into account it’s not unusual for him to only be at the crease for five or six overs.
And if the logic behind that is all a bit simple, consider that Shuman Gill is a) the team’s top scorer b) an opener and c) has had his price boosted from 16/5 to 7/2. That will do us just fine.
We’ve known for a while that this is the trickier of the three venues when it comes to batting. So it makes sense that if we think Mumbai will win, it could just be a bowler making the difference and consequently, walking away with the man-of-the-match award.
He may not have taken any wickets last time out but Jasprit Bumrah got four at this same ground the game before, looking slightly more at ease with the conditions than fellow pacemen James Pattinson and Trent Boult.
He’s been good pretty much every game so far, he’s the side’s joint top wicket-taker and has been going at less than eight an over so should give us a decent run for our money on a wicket he nows well and has enjoyed success on.