Kolkata Knight Riders host Mumbai Indians in a top-four battle
By Arun Gopalakrishnan
Mumbai 11 May 2012
Match 58 of DLF IPL 2012 promises a mouthwatering contest between two teams that need to win for varying reasons. KKR have 17 points currently, and sit second in the points table; a win in this match will propel them to the top of league standings. It will also firm up their chances of finishing in the top two by the time the league stage ends – which will give them a second chance to qualify for the final.
Despite sitting in the top half of the points table, the Mumbai Indians will realize they are far from playing to their potential. Harbhajan Singh’s team should consider themselves fortunate to be sitting with 14 points, given that they’ve barely held on to cross the finish line in five of their seven wins. They come into this contest after receiving a drubbing at the hands of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous outing.
Saturday, May 12, 2012, 04:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The two players from the KKR line-up who’ve stood out so far are their skipper Gautam Gambhir and the spinner Sunil Narine. Gambhir has led from the front; he has been consistent, he is their top run-getter this season, and he has contributed close to one-third of the runs scored by his team. Narine came into the tournament with a reputation of being a mystery spinner, and despite him having played in nine matches and despite all the technical aids available to players, batsmen have still struggled to pick him. The Trinidadian cricketer is KKR’s most successful bowler with 15 wickets; his economy rate of 5.30 indicates batsmen have struggled to score off him.
For the Mumbai Indians to do well, they will need Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Lasith Malinga to come to the party together. Tendulkar appeared to struggle in his initial few outings in the tournament, but showed glimpses of coming good in his last two innings. Despite all the talent at his disposal, Rohit Sharma has often frustrated his fans because of poor shot selection. However, the Mumbai lad has looked a different player altogether when batting alongside the little master. “Whenever I batted with him, he came up to me and always said what I needed to do. I've really benefited a lot,” he said about batting with Sachin Tendulkar on the eve of the match.
On the bowling front, Lasith Malinga continues to be unplayable; the Sri Lankan has taken 20 wickets in the competition at a strike-rate of a wicket every 10 balls, and has a stunning economy rate of 5.32.
Mumbai Indians have often dominated their matches against the Kolkata Knight Riders; the two teams have met on eight occasions, and barring a loss in the second meeting in IPL 2010, the Mumbai Indians have been victorious every other time.
In each of their three previous home fixtures against KKR, MI have chased down targets to register convincing wins. In IPL 2008, MI dismissed KKR for 67 and then chased it down in 5.3 overs; in IPL 2010, they chased down 156 to win by seven wickets. In their most recent meeting, MI restricted KKR to 147 for seven and then chased down the required runs in 19.2 overs.
Sachin Tendulkar is Mumbai Indians’ top run-getter with 1949 runs. The next highest scorer for the Mumbai Indians is Ambati Rayudu with 981 runs.
If he plays in this match, Manoj Tiwary will become Kolkata Knight Riders’ most-capped player; he will join Kolkata’s prodigal son, Sourav Ganguly, who currently tops the list with 40 appearances for KKR. What next?
Gautam Gambhir and co. will stay put at home after this fixture and host the Chennai Super Kings on May 14. The Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, travel to the Garden City to take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore also on May 14.