Survival on MI’s mind, KKR eye qualification
The Kolkata Knight Riders will be keen to get the better of the Mumbai Indians in Match 51 of Pepsi IPL 2015, for it will confirm their progress to the Playoffs. In addition, a win on Thursday will also improve KKR’s chances of finishing the league stage among the top two teams – which comes with the added incentive of a second chance at qualifying for the title clash. KKR, who have won their last matches, will be mindful that they have to improve upon their record on the road this season; they have won only two of their five matches on the road this season, and will need to improve their performance by several notches to get the better of the home side.
Mumbai Indians lie sixth in the Pepsi IPL 2015 standings with 12 points from six matches. After a slow start to the competition, they bounced back spectacularly winning five on the trot. However, that streak came to a halt when they were blown away by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, by AB de Villiers in particular, in the previous match. MI received a proper badgering on that occasion – conceding 235 runs with the ball, and then finished 40 runs short in their chase. Coach Ricky Ponting told the media on Wednesday that his team, after the slow start, had approached every match as a final. He also said his team would continue to play that way; “After getting off to a slow start we have just focused on every game and played all of them as a final.
“Tomorrow is probably the most important game for us. There is no point looking at the mathematics and how other teams are doing because we have no control over that. We have control over our performance tomorrow and we will make sure we play our best game,” the MI coach elaborated on how his team would approach this fixture.
WhereWankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Rohit Sharma is the best batsman in the Mumbai Indians ranks. In a high pressure match such as this one, the MI skipper will be keen to lead from the front. In his previous innings against KKR, he led from the front – opening the innings, scoring 98 from 65 balls and leading his team to a respectable total.
KKR’s recipe to success is for their openers to set a platform and their spinners to tie the opposition down. Therefore, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa will play pivotal roles with the bat, and the spin trio of Brad Hogg, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla will be expected to make use of the bounce available on the surface at the Wankhede Stadium.
Contests to look-forward to
The Mumbai Indians have a 10-5 win-loss record from 15 IPL matches against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
These two teams met in Kolkata in the opening contest of Pepsi IPL 2015. On that occasion, MI rode on skipper Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten 98 to post a competitive 168-3. However, the hosts chased it down after Gautam Gambhir (57), Manish Pandey (40) and Suryakumar Yadav contributed in the run-chase. Suryakumar, in particular was sensational; the 24-year old struck five sixes and a boundary, and needed only 20 balls to score 46. KKR would win comfortably, with seven wickets in hand and with nine deliveries to spare.
Mumbai Indians’ Lasith Malinga needs one more wicket to become the first player to take 50 IPL wickets at a particular venue; he currently has 49 wickets (from 31 matches) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
No bowler has dismissed the KKR batsman Manish Pandey more often than Lasith Malinga; the MI bowler has seen the back of the KKR batsman (who also played for PWI and RCB) on four occasions.
The average first innings total in Pepsi IPL 2015 matches at the Wankhede Stadium is 183. In five of the seven matches played at the venue this season, the team batting first has posted a total in excess of 175.
Mumbai Indians will travel to Hyderabad to play their final league stage fixture of Pepsi IPL 2015; they are scheduled to take on Sunrisers Hyderabad next on May 17. The Kolkata Knight Riders meanwhile remain in Mumbai, but will be seen in action next at the Brabourne Stadium when they take on the Rajasthan Royals on May 16 in their last league fixture of the season.