If there is one area that Mumbai Indians still need to improve on, it’s raising their energy levels on the field, according to head coach Mahela Jayawardene. If the reputation of three titles and five wins in seven games in the season isn’t enough, he has called on them to make their presence on the field more intimidating. “The energy levels are good but I’m not going to be satisfied,” he says. “Creating that atmosphere, intimidation of the presence out there is something that I’m always pushing them to be getting better at.”
That’s no good news for Kolkata Knight Riders though, who are just about hanging on to their place in the top four, and at the moment, look most vulnerable of the lot to drop out of the race for a playoffs spot. Neither their much-famed batting line-up nor the promising bowling line-up has come good enough to counter that intimidation. Sunil Narine’s bowling action and Russell’s injury concerns aren’t soothing their campaign just as yet. Amidst all this, they find themselves up against their not-so-friendly foes – Mumbai Indians, who have won 10 of their last 11 encounters. The only time KKR did manage to beat MI in the last five years was when Andre Russell had hit his batting peak. More than a year later, the West Indian hasn’t turned up with his batting muscle just as yet in the tournament.
Thus, even as Kolkata return to Abu Dhabi, where they have won three of their four games so far, it is a venue where Rohit Sharma’s team has enjoyed playing in, and be the only team to be more dominant than KKR. In fact, KKR’s only loss in Abu Dhabi came against Mumbai, who have won all their four games at the venue after losing the tournament opener to CSK. Mumbai Indians’ pacers have found the right lengths, spinners have found the right variations and the batsmen have understood the best practices. It is not without a reason that they are able to post totals in excess of 190 in their last three games batting first at the venue while all other teams are managing only scores in the range of 160. The victory-margins too have been comfortable – 49 runs v KKR, 48 runs v KXIP, 57 runs v RR, 5 wickets v DC.
KKR, on the other hand, are still figuring out their best XIs. While the pitches are slowing down considerably, MI wouldn’t have much tweaks to do to their plans. All they need to do, as Jayawardene says, ensure their presence is more intimidating.
When: Friday, October 16, 2020, 19:30 IST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: Scores have ranged around the 160-run mark for all teams, except MI, and the pitches are getting slower. Even as Mumbai Indians have posted three 190+ scores after batting first, their finishing powers seemed to have waned slightly in the last couple of games. Dew hasn’t played much of a part and is unlikely to do so. Teams winning the toss will look to bat.
James Pattinson has pleased the captain and the coach enough as the third pacer. While details are still awaited over Nathan Coulter-Nile’s recovery, there isn’t much scope or need for the defending champions to experiment. They are likely to stick to their previous eleven.
Likely XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Kolkata Knight Riders
The big news on the morning of the match was that Dinesh Karthik decided to hand over the captaincy duties to Eoin Morgan in order to focus more on his batting. Meanwhile, uncertainty looms over Narine’s availability. If KKR continue to persist with Tom Banton, the headache of their batting line-up will continue and the in-form Rahul Tripathi may have to continue batting at No. 7. With the pacers doing well in Abu Dhabi, however, there could be a case for including Lockie Ferguson, which would also give them a much-needed additional bowling option.
Likely XI: Shubhman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravorthy, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna/Kuldeep Yadav
What they said:
“We knew that the guys going into the tournament were in good form, they had prepared well but it’s all about getting into that awareness, the intelligence for the situations out there. Trying to get them understand the situations quickly enough and adapt, that’s where we came back strongly after the first few games where we learnt a lot very quickly, how to play in Abu Dhabi, which is going to be our main venue, having to play eight games there.” – Mahela Jayawardene, Mumbai Indians head coach.
“We are respectful of the process that the IPL has put in place to have his action reviewed, and are working closely with the IPL in this matter. We are hopeful that there would be an appropriate resolution quickly. We appreciate the cooperation being extended by the IPL in expediting this matter” – Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunil Narine
KKR vs MI Squads:
Kolkata Knight Riders Squad: Tom Banton, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Andre Russell, Rahul Tripathi, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Siddhesh Lad, Nikhil Naik, Chris Green, Lockie Ferguson, Rinku Singh, Ali Khan, Shivam Mavi, Manimaran Siddharth
Mumbai Indians Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Chris Lynn, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jayant Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, Sherfane Rutherford, Digvijay Deshmukh, Prince Balwant Rai
KKR vs MI My Dream 11 Team
Ishan Kishan (MI), Quinton de Kock (MI), Dinesh Karthik (KKR), Rohit Sharma (MI), Suryakumar Yadav (MI), Eoin Morgan (KKR), Kieron Pollard (MI), Andre Russell (KKR), Jasprit Bumrah (MI), Trent Boult (MI) and Varun Chakravarthy (KKR).
Quinton De Kock (MI) must be your captain for this game while Eoin Morgan (KKR) can be picked as your vice-captain.