Dubai: Four-time winners and defending champions Mumbai Indians go in as favourites in maintaining their winning run as they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in their encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The Rohit Sharma-led team are on a roll after winning their last four matches while KKR have been smarting from their 82-run thrashing last Sunday at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Mumbai are also the first team to have more than a 50 per cent win rate against all teams in the IPL, making them the most successful franchise in the IPL.
Mumbai defeated Delhi Capitals by five wickets in a thrilling top of the table clash in their IPL 2020 encounter last Sunday. They are capable of matching up to any of the other teams as shown by their skipper Rohit Sharma who led with a blistering 80 as the Mumbai side registered an easy 49-run win in the first encounter of the two teams this season.
Apart from Rohit, the Mumbai top and middle-order is also in good form - Quinton De Kock (191 runs) and No.3 Suryakumar Yadav (233 runs) or the young Ishan Kishan (186 runs) who showed what he is capable of with that exciting 99 against RCB. The ‘engine room’ of the side is also awesome with the combination of Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, along with Kieron Pollard.
On the bowling front, Mumbai looks a settled lot with Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah providing early breakthroughs and James Pattinson has been his steady consistent self.
The biggest headache for KKR has been their inconsistent batting so far.Andre Russell, a matchwinner of them, has managed a meagre 71 runs from the seven games he has featured in so far.
Kolkata also possesses a number of batsmen who can take any attack to the cleaners including the young and elegant Shubman Gill, England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, Nitish Rana and skipper Dinesh Karthik. All of them, however, have fired in patches while the fourth-placed team are still trying to sort the batting order as the business-end of the tournament has got underway.
The bowlers from KKR have done comparatively fared much better while fashioning narrow wins against the Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings. They were found wanting though against RCB as Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krisha leaked 38 and 42 runs. respectively.
With the UAE pitches now slowing down considerably, Friday’s encounter could see an even contest between bat and ball.
Catch the match
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Start: 6 pm UAE
Live telecast on Bein Sports