The second phase of the Indian Premier League is in full flow now and has started in contrasting style for Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians were comprehensively beaten by Chennai Super Kings in the opening encounter whereas KKR outplayed Royal Challengers Bangalore by nine wickets and also gave their net run-rate a big boost by chasing the 92 runs in 10 overs.
Both these star-studded teams clash in Abu Dhabi on Thursday and in spite of the contrasting results in their first game, KKR will be the team under pressure as their record against Mumbai Indians is very poor. In the IPL’s 13 years’ history, Mumbai have won 22 head-to-head games where as KKR have won just six times against their bogey team.
Last year in the two games played at UAE, Mumbai got the better of KKR and even in the first leg of this year’s IPL, Mumbai snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Chasing 152, KKR were 104 in 13 overs when they lost their skipper Eoin Morgan and then panic set and lost by 10 runs in a game which they should have won.
Dinesh Karthik had said that Mumbai bring their ‘A’ game against KKR and find ways to defeat Morgan’s men.
I once asked Zaheer Khan, the Director of Mumbai, why some teams struggle against one particular opponent and Zaheer told me that it’s more mental pressure than anything. Most of the time, the team loses the match off the field rather than on it and KKR seem to be bullied by a certain Mumbai Indians side.
After the last loss, Shah Rukh Khan tweeted: “Disappointing performance, to say the least,” and apologised to all the fans.
Can Morgan and his team turn the tide this time around against their nemeses and bring a smile on their fans and their owners? It’s a tough call but if they can, they move in to the top four in the IPL standings along with a spring in their step as we reach the business end of this year’s IPL.