Kolkata's qualification for playoffs is at stake when in form Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knigt Riders at Wankhede Stadium
Their play-off chances hanging in balance, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will keep no stone unturned as they take on Mumbai Indians (MI) with a prayer on their lips in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on May 5.
KKR defeated Kings XI Punjab to keep their play-off hopes alive till the last league game, but if Sunrisers Hyderabad manage to sneak past RCB on May 4, it might take a Herculean effort in terms of improving the net run-rate.
Placed fourth, SRH have a net run-rate of +0.653, which is comparatively better than KKR's +0.173, where they placed fifth. In case SRH lose to RCB, it will be like a quarter-final for KKR as a win will do the job.
However MI would like to carry on the winning momentum as 18 points and a better net run-rate than both first placed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and third placed Delhi Capitals (DC) will give them two shots at qualifying for the final.
With Chris Lynn and Shubhman Gill are coming on good and the marauding Andre Russell to follow at No 4, skipper Dinesh Karthik would fancy his chances at the batting-friendly Wankhede.
Gill's confidence would have boosted after his back-to-back half-centuries against Mumbai Indians (at home) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
His unbeaten 65 off 49 balls steered KKR to a seven-wicket victory against KXIP at Mohali.
If the likes of seasoned Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya and leggie Rahul Chahar have to be taken to task, then the KKR batsman will have to put up a special show. Russell, who has been consistently delivering for his team, will have to showcase his prowess and mettle once again.
For KKR, their bowling has been their biggest concern as their bowlers have been ripped apart by their opponents both in the powerplay as well as at the death.
Pacers Harry Gurney, Sandeep Warrier, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla will have to bowl a tight line and length to restrict the famed Mumbai batters.
With the Wankhede track aiding slow bowlers, KKR may also be tempted to play chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who has been dumped because of poor form.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians, who have already qualified for the playoffs, will seek revenge from KKR after they had suffered a 34-run defeat in Kolkata in a high-scoring thriller despite Hardik Pandya's breath-taking 91 off 34 balls.
Also the result of the match will finalize Mumbai's finishing position and who will be their opponent in the play-off.
For the hosts, apart from Hardik (380 runs from 13 matches), South African Quinton De Kock (462 from 13) has been among the haymakers. But others including Rohit Sharma (331 runs from 12), Suryakumar Yadav (292 runs from 13), Krunal Pandya ( 176 runs from 13) and Kieron Pollard (240 runs from 13) need to shoulder responsibility.
However an area of concern for head-coach Mahela Jayawardene would be the frequent middle-order collapse which he would like to strengthen before the knockouts.
Timing – 8 pm
Venue –Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Where to watch – Star Sports 1/1HD/1 Hindi/1HD Hindi/1 Tamil/1 Telugu/1 Kannada/1 Bangla/Select 1/Select 1HD. Online viewers can catch the action live on Hotstar
Head to Head
The two teams have played against each other 24 times. Mumbai has notched wins in 18 matches, while Kolkata has emerged a a winner on a mere six occasions.
In the reverse fixture played earlier this season, MI crushed KKR by a margin of 34 runs. In a run feast, batting first KKR posted the monumental 232/2 thanks to quick fire of fifties from young Shubman Gill, Chriss Lynn and Andre Russell. Mumbai made a valiant attempt to chase the total down thanks to Hardik Pandya's 91 runs from 34 balls but the team ran out of balls.
No fresh injury concern for the captains of either side.
Prediction: who will win?
MI have good form on their side, but KKR can be an unpredictable opposition. They could turn up in a great mood and thrash Mumbai. KKR are favorite to win this match.
Betting Odds (bet365)
Mumbai Indians: 8/11
Kolkalat Knight Riders: 11/10
Other popular bets on the match can be checked on Oddschecker.
Pitch report at Wankhede Stadium: The pitch at Wankhede assists pace and bounce. There are always runs on offer on the track too. This match could go down as a high scoring thriller.
Moneycontrol Dream XI: Shubman Gill, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav,Sunil Narine, Prasidh Krishna, Harry Gurney
Players to watch out for
Hardik Pandya (MI)
Pandya has picked up 12 wickets, and scored 390 runs with the bat. He could spoil Kolkata's chances both with the bat and with the ball.
Andre Russell (KKR)
KKR's answer to Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder has been in menacing form with the bat having scored 510 runs this campaign. He has also picked up 11 wickets.
IPL points table: On points table, MI are second having 16 points from 13 matches, while KKR are fifth managing 12 points from 13 outings. Check the detailed points table here.(With inputs from PTI)