IPL 2019: History and form stacked against KKR as MI rolls into town

Kolkata Knight Riders, which is on a six-match losing streak in IPL 2019, faces a visit from Mumbai Indians against whom its has lost 18 of its 23 matches in the competition's history.

Even though KKR has rarely under-performed with the bat, its batting has attracted more criticism than its bowling.   -  IPL/SPORTZPICS

With its back to the wall in its remaining three matches, Kolkata Knight Riders will meet Mumbai Indians twice in eight days. The first meeting is at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday, when KKR will seek to not only stay alive in the Indian Premier League but also complete its home assignments on a high.

For KKR, it is easier said than done to reverse the negative momentum of its six-match losing streak. KKR’s last win came three weeks ago. Now, it seems as if the team has forgotten how to secure a victory.

Even though KKR has rarely under-performed with the bat, except for the collapse in Chennai, its batting has attracted more criticism than its bowling.

WATCH | Can Kolkata Knight Riders snap its losing streak?

The KKR bowlers have not been able to take enough wickets and put pressure on the opponent. Whenever its bowlers have managed to take early wickets – for example against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals here – it has not been able to maintain the control over the rival batsmen in the latter half of the innings.

Hard times have triggered self-doubts in KKR, which is doing trial and error to find a winning combination.

Mumbai is coming off a win over table-topper Chennai Super Kings. PHOTO: PTI   -  pti

 

Speculation over Dinesh Karthik continuing as the captain loomed until the wicketkeeper-batsman showed character to notch up an unbeaten 97 and help KKR post a competitive total against RR.

The side will pray that everything falls into place in its last home engagement.

READ | Russell slams KKR’s ‘bad decisions’, says team atmosphere not healthy

Closer to qualification, MI must overcome the fatigue of playing and travelling to give a strong performance against a doubt-stricken KKR.

Loaded with impact players – such as Lasith Malinga, the Pandya brothers (Hardik and Krunal), Jasprit Bumrah and Quinton de Kock – the Rohit Sharma-led outfit has put up fights to stay among the top in a season of ups and downs.

MI will be eager to put it past KKR here and ensure a safe passage to the playoffs.