Mumbai Indians keen to keep winning

Mumbai Indians keen to keep winning

Rohit Sharma

 Mumbai Indians' road to redemption in the Indian Premier League faces another tricky test as they host a formidable Kolkata Knight Riders here on Sunday.

The defending champions seemed resurgent after a tense win over Kings XI Punjab, though their playoff hopes are still hanging by a thread, thanks to a spate of reverses over the past few weeks.

The 21-ball 56-run blitzkrieg between Krunal Pandya and Rohit Sharma against the Kings XI is history now and MI will next need to tame KKR at the Wankhede Stadium.

MI's under-performing batsmen finally clicked against Kings XI and they will look to replicate their performance against another top of the table outfit.

Mumbai jumped to the fifth spot having won three of their nine games while KKR are in the third position. Rohit Sharma's men have to win all their remaining five games to make it to the playoffs.

For Mumbai Indians, Suryakumar Yadav (340 runs) has been in great form and has scored runs consistently. But his opening partner Evin Lewis has been a disappointment and the home team will need to relook at its opening pair, especially after the West Indian's flop show at the Holkar International Stadium.

Mumbai, however, will be pleased that their skipper Rohit is back among the runs and will be looking up to him to lead from the front while out-of-form West Indian Kieron Pollard is expected to be benched again in favour of Ben Cutting.

An area where MI need to improve is their bowling in the death overs. While New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan was hammered for three sixes in the final over by the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen, Hardik leaked over 20 runs in the final over against KXIP.

Jasprit Bumrah, Cutting and young leggie Mayank Markande (12 wickets) need to play their part to perfection if KKR’s strong batting line-up is to be restricted. Krunal, too, needs to chip in with the ball along with Hardik.

KKR has done well with skipper Dinesh Karthik leading the charge in style. Following an emphatic six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings, KKR have jumped to the third spot and a third win on the trot will boost their qualifying hopes considerably.

Karthik has amassed 280 runs in nine matches but is still outside the top-10 list of leading run-getters and he is followed by Chris Lynn and Andre Russell, with 260 and 207 runs respectively.

The firepower of Sunil Narine at the top and the emergence of youngster Shubhman Gill down the order provide KKR with one of the most devastating batting orders. Only vice-captain Robin Uthappa has not played to potential.

KKR also boast of three quality spinners -- Narine (10 wickets), Piyush Chawla (8 wickets) and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (8 wickets) -- lending variety to their attack.