New Delhi: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders would be eager to avenge their twin defeats in the league stage when they face old foes Mumbai Indians in the IPL Qualifer 2 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.
The winners of this match will progress into the final of the competition and face Rising Pune Supergiant on May 21.
Mumbai have a supreme head-to-head record against Kolkata as in the 20 matches that have been played between the two side, MI have won 15. However, such records usually go out of the window during matches like these. Cricketnext takes a look at the key battles which might decide the match.
1. Rohit Sharma vs Sunil Narine
With the bat, Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma hasn't been on the top of his game during the course of the league but he has the tendency to come up with the goods when it matters the most. So far, Rohit has slammed 283 runs in 14 innings, which includes three half-centuries. But chances are that he will have his work cut-out against KKR, who possess Rohit's nemesis in the ranks — Sunil Narine.
Over the years, Rohit has faced 84 deliveries from Narine and has hit 85 runs. But the most striking part is that he has been dismissed by the West Indian 6 times. Besides, Narine has been in good form and has picked up 10 wickets so far in the ongoing edition of the league.
2. Parthiv Patel vs Umesh Yadav
India teammates Parthiv Patel and Umesh Yadav have been at loggerheads for a while now in the cash-rich league. Parthiv has been a vital cog in the Mumbai batting wheel this year and has been crucial in giving good starts to the team more often than not. With 377 runs in 14 matches, Parthiv has been the leading run-getter for Mumbai thus far. Meanhwile, Umesh has been on top of his game as well for KKR. The pace spearhead has picked up 16 wickets in 13 matches for Kolkata.
However, Parthiv holds a more than decent record against Umesh in the IPL. The southpaw has face 27 balls from Umesh in the previous editions of the league and has slammed 48 runs at a high strike-rate of almost 178. While Umesh has only once managed to get the better of Parthiv previously.
3. Kieron Pollard vs Trent Boult
The usually reliable Kieron Pollard has been in good nick with the bat this year for Mumbai. In 14 innings the West Indian has hit 369 runs and has been the second best run-scorer for Mumbai. Pollard big-hitting will once again be crucial for MI when they take on KKR. However, handing over the ball to Trent Boult when Pollard comes out to bat, won't be a bad call whatsoever.
Boult has managed to keep Pollard quite in the past as the West Indian could only 16 runs off the same number of deliveries bowled by the Kiwi star. And to add to that, Boult has bowled 8 dots to Pollard while also getting his wicket once in the process.
4. Chris Lynn vs Lasith Malinga
Chris Lynn has been Kolkata's most explosive batsman in this edition of the league. Despite missing most part of the season due to injury, Lynn is one of the top run-getters for KKR. In just 6 matches, Lynn has slammed 293 runs and has shown that stopping him is almost next to impossible.
Mumbai pacer Lasith Malinga has slowly and steadily regained his top form that made him one of the most feared bowlers of the modern era. With 10 wickets in as many matches for the two-time champions this year, Malinga has lived upto the his billing of providing breakthroughs at the right moment.
However, the Lankan star has been expensive as he has leaked runs at the rate of more than 9 per over. This is something that Lynn can exploit as Malinga hasn't looked to contain the batsmen at all in IPL-10.
5. Gautam Gambhir vs Jaspit Bumrah
What happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object? Guess we will find that tonight when Gautam Gambhir will be up against Jasprit Bumrah.
Gambhir has led from the front throughout the season and one may be forgiven to think that the southpaw will prove to be the difference in the qualifier two as well. With 486 runs in 15 matches, Gambhir is well placed at the second spot as far as the Orange Cap list is concerned.
While Bumrah has been consistent with his performances too as has been amongst the wickets as well. The pacer has picked up 15 wickets in 14 matches and has a decent economy of under 8. Besides, Bumrah has been successful in keeping shackles around Gambhir in the past and that will be playing in the minds of the KKR skipper.
Gambhir has faced 24 balls against Bumrah and could only manage 27 runs, which includes 11 dot deliveries as well. While the MI pacer has dismissed the southpaw once in the IPL before.