Barring Delhi Daredevils rest seven teams are in contention for spots in play-offs and that is quite healthy for IPL. Kolkata Knight Riders have four wins while Mumbai Indians are one behind with three wins so far. For both teams it is imperative to win all the remaining games and book place for next round and to start with they meet each other at Cuttack.
Gautam Gambhir has come a long way after those three consecutive ducks to score three back to back half-centuries and that has lifted KKR. He has bounced back perfectly and at the time most needed and now seems to be unfazed by his earlier failures.
Lasith Malinga is a class act irrespective of how team is performing “Slinga Malinga” has given his best. He has picked 15 wickets so far at an economy of 6.28. Malinga will leave for national duty after few games and that will hurt Mumbai Indians as other bowlers have already been under the pump.
KKR openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have done a phenomenal job and scored bulk of runs at the top. Late middle order was not required for them in last few games and will be under pressure when their turn comes. Match against Rajasthan Royals showed how susceptible middle order is. Jacques Kallis has opened and done reasonably well but it remains to be seen how he performs in middle order with Yusuf Pathan too out of touch.
Zaheer Khan’s injury has created a void in Mumbai Indians bowling attack. Praveen Kumar looked rusty the other night and other bowlers have failed to chip in with wickets. Harbhajan Singh has started to look good but again his not being consistent hurts MI most. Lasith Malinga has been exceptional and only bowler who looks threatening in MI ranks.
Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu were the only Indian batsmen on the most-runs list till Yuvraj Singh’s blitz against Delhi Daredevils last night. Uthappa has been spectacle opening the innings and has provided KKR breezy starts. He has scored 302 runs so far and looks like will finish in top five the way he has been batting. Rayudu has done well in holding the MI innings together and has performed well as mainstay batsman of his team. He accelerates within no time and doesn’t mind scampering through quick singles and doubles.
Last Meeting: KKR defeated MI by 41 runs MoM: Jacques Kallis (72 runs)
KKR: Gautam Gambhir (c), Jacques Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Manvinder Bisla (wk), Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Sayan Mondal, R Vinay Kumar, Andre Russell, Veer Pratap Singh.
MI: Rohit Sharma (c), Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Pragyan Ojha, Aditya Tare, Jasprit Bumrah, Lendl Simmons, Pawan Suyal, Sushant Marathe, C.M. Gautam, Apoorv Wankhade, Shreyas Gopal, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson, Josh Hazelwood, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie, Ben Dunk.