Can Kolkata Knight Riders overcome the Mumbai Indians jinx this evening as they seek a top-two finish in their final round of the Indian Premier League at the Eden Gardens?
Having already qualified for the play-offs, the match is of little importance for Mumbai Indians though victory will give them the top spot. But will see them finish in the top 2 because of their superior run rate.
However, Kolkata must win to swell their points tally to 18, to book a second-place finish. The top two will get the advantage of two shots at making the final.
Start: 8 pm IST
A house full is expected at the iconic Eden Gardens, Kolkata Knight Riders’ home venue. But Gautam Gambhir’s side has its task cut out, as their record against Mumbai Indians is an abysmal: 2-5.
In fact, Kolkata have beaten Mumbai only five times in 19 meetings overall and the last of those victories was in April 2015 at Eden.
Since then Kolkata have lost four straight games to Mumbai, including the first meeting in this edition of the tournament where they lost by four wickets, off the penultimate delivery.
The Eden Gardens is one of Rohit Sharma’s happy hunting grounds where he has led Mumbai Indians to two IPL titles -- winning the final in 2013 and 2015. He registered his highest score – 109 -- at this venue in IPL 2012. He also scored a world record 264 in an ODI against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in 2014. So, he will be hoping to get back among the runs here.
Kolkata Knight Riders 4/5, Mumbai Indians evens
Face to Face:
The first meeting between the two sides this season was a close affair even though the result says a four-wicket win for Mumbai at the Wankhede stadium.
Chasing the visitors’ total of 178 for seven, built mainly around Manish Pandey’s swashbuckling 47-ball 81, Mumbai got off to a superb start before losing four wickets in a cluster and were in the dumps at 119 for five before.
They squeezed home with a ball to spare. The heroes of Mumbai's thrilling run-chase were one-down batsman Nitish Rana, who kept them in the hunt when wickets fell around him with a 29-ball 50, and Hardik Pandya, who cracked an 11-ball 29.
That defeat was Kolkata’s fourth in a row against Mumbai in a lopsided 5-14 overall record. Their winning percentage of 26.31 against Mumbai is also the least among teams with a minimum of five matches.
Kolkata have the best net run-rate (+0.729) among the playoff contenders and have virtually made the cut but would still like to get a win under their belt and a top two finish.
Players to watch:
Rohit Sharma: Last season, Mumbai Indians won both their matches against Kolkata Knight Riders and the skipper was Man-of-the-Match in both. It is a big opportunity for the skipper to get back among runs before the play-offs.
Lendl Simmons: The West Indian opener has displayed cool temperament and shown he’s one for the big occasion. In three matches this season he has registered two half-centuries. With Jos Buttler expected to return for international duty, Simmons will be opening the innings for MI in the knockout rounds.
Sunil Naraine: While all the focus has been on Sunil Narine's surprise impact with the bat at the top of the order this season, his bowling cannot be taken lightly especially at the Eden Gardens. He smashed the joint fastest fifty in the IPL, off just 15 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore, and tallies 214 runs in 13 games with a strike rate of 184.
He has also picked up 10 wickets with the ball with an impressive economy rate of seven.
Chris Lynn: Chris Lynn has also been in devastating form with the bat. He started off with a bang, hammering 93 from 41 balls against Gujarat Lions in Game 3 before a shoulder injury kept him out for nearly a month. However, he has made a smashing return with two half-centuries in as many games, 50 and 84 against RCB and Kings XI Punjab respectively.
With the knockout rounds approaching, KKR are struggling with injuries and players returning home for national duty. Nathan Coulter-Nile and Suryakumar Yadav are ruled out with injuries, while Shakib Al Hasan has gone back to Bangladesh. England's Chris Woakes, who has been a consistent performer for KKR with the ball, won't be available for the play-offs.
For Mumbai, Lendl Simmons will continue play instead of Jos Butler, who won’t be available for the play-offs.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Gautam Gambhir (captain), Robin Uthappa (w/k), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot.
Mumbai Indians: Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel (w/k), Nitish Rana, Rohit Sharma (captain), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Karn Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah.