Abu Dhabi: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders, the only team to have not played a match so far, will be keen to get off to a winning start against holders Mumbai Indians at the UAE capital’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium today. Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai brigade, meanwhile, will be smarting under the first match loss to Chennai Super Kings and will want to come hard against Dinesh Karthik’s men – who are expected to have some first match jitters. Last season, they missed the play-offs by a narrow margin – Sunrisers Hyderabad had same points as them but progressed on the basis of a better net run-rate.
With the Abu Dhabi wicket offering a tinge of grass in the first two matches, the match may see a speed duel between KKR’s Australian tearaway Pat Cummins and New Zealander Trent Boult of MI.
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Kolkata can overhaul the Mumbai target
Mumbai Indians have a good total on the board. Is 195 good enough stop the Kolkata Knight Riders? No. Not really. The pitch is playing true. Kolkata have the batsmen to do it, but it will depend on a good start. And if Mumbai can grab a couple of early wickets, that could derail the Kolkata chase.
Mumbai had a brilliant start despite losing Quinton de Kock early. Captain Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav unleashed an array of breathtaking strokes to push Kolkata Knight Riders on the backfoot. But after Yadav’s exit, Mumbai struggled in the middle overs to keep the runs ticking. Yet they had enough wickets in hand and a total of over 200 looked quite possible.
Rohit Sharma’s exit, followed Hardik Pandya’s hit wicket dismissal at the death overs hurt them. Keiron Pollard and Krunal Pandya couldn’t cash in in the last over and they finished at 195 for five. A target of 200 would have been tough. Five less, will it matter? It may.
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