Mumbai Indians host Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in a game that will see the winners seal their qualification to the play off round.
MI are coming off a thrilling win over RCB in their last game that underscored the never-say-die attitude of Harbhajan’s men. Rayudu came to the team’s rescue after the failure of the top order batsmen while chasing a competitive 170-plus target.
A little more consistency in the batting department could give this MI side a serious title claim; as of now, their bowlers are leading their stride with Malinga remaining as threatening as ever, though young Mayank Agarwal tried to dilute his mystique by hitting the Sri Lankan for a six and a four off successive balls of the 19th over. MI also had Gayle to thank for throwing away his wicket needlessly, when he played on against Munaf Patel.
KKR’s campaign appears to be unraveling at the crunch. With a top heavy batting order, they have relied overly on openers Gambhir and McCullum and the rest of the batsmen haven’t pulled their weight. This was evident in the manner of KKR’s collapse against CSK after the departure of their openers, causing the team to go from 99/0 in 11 overs to 158/6.
Brett Lee could come back to replace De Lange who was treated with disdain by both Hussey and Vijay at the top of CSK’s batting order and on the Wankhede track, KKR would be well served with the inclusion of Shakib who took Tendulkar’s wicket in the reverse fixture at the Eden and was the best bowler on display. Given McCullum’s batting form, KKr might have to get Shakib to replace Lee/ De Lange and play a local new ball operator.
Admittedly, MI are favourites to win this one and seal their place in the play offs but don’t count KKR out yet; the likes of Sunil Narine and Shakib could spin the game out of MI’s reach.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.