IPL 2020: KKR VS MI preview: Kolkata eyes strong start against formidable Mumbai

Mumbai, which lost its IPL 2020 season opener to Super Kings by five wickets, has a massive 76% win rate over Kolkata from 25 outings between the two sides.

One of the most one-sided rivalries in IPL history will be revived when Mumbai Indians (MI) takes on Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Mumbai, which lost its IPL 2020 season opener to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by five wickets on Saturday, has a massive 76% win rate over Kolkata from 25 outings between the two sides.

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THE BUILD-UP

However, MI hasn't won a single game in the UAE in six attempts. The franchise had lost to KKR by 41 runs in the 2014 IPL's first match at the same venue in Abu Dhabi.

During Saturday's clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the pacers, with a combined economy rate of 8.1, were a bit more successful than the spinners, who had an overall economy of 8.5.

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After finishing in playoff spots from 2016 to 2018, KKR failed to make the last-four stage on net run-rate in the previous edition. The team would be looking to make a statement at the expense of MI as it begins its 2020 campaign.

Under new head coach Brendon McCullum, this could be Kolkata's best chance to finally dominate Mumbai. The pattern of captains winning the toss and electing to bowl first might continue on Wednesday.

THE KEY MEN

MI opener Quinton de Kock gave his team a brilliant start against CSK, but he wasn't able to convert his knock into a half-century. Meanwhile, skipper Rohit Sharma was only able to score 12. A good opening stand is essential in the KKR game.

Left-hander Saurabh Tiwary, who was picked ahead of wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan in the playing XI, justified his spot by scoring a 31-ball 42 in the opening game, also hitting the first six of the tournament.

Mumbai might be unchanged for its next contest but the middle-order comprising of Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya would be expected to contribute significantly.

The outfit missed Lasith Malinga's death bowling against CSK, however, after a dull day, Jasprit Bumrah would be expected to be at his best. New ball bowlers, Trent Boult and James Pattinson have to get the early breakthroughs yet again to improve their side's chances.

If the spinners -- Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar -- go for runs, Pollard, who was the player of the tournament at CPL 2020 for his eight wickets and 207 runs in 11 matches, or Hardik should be handed the ball.

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On the other hand, Kolkata made some high-profile signings at the auction in December 2019. The franchise splashed the cash for Australian pacer Pat Cummins (₹15.5 crores), England's limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan (₹5.25 crores) and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy (₹4 crores).

All three of them might find a place in the playing XI against MI. With Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn moving to Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai respectively, Shubman Gill can finally open the innings alongside Sunil Narine.

Nitish Rana, Morgan, captain Dinesh Karthik and one among new-recruit Rahul Tripathi or power-hitter Rinku Singh will most likely complete the top-six. Two-time IPL MVP-award winner Andre Russell might be promoted up the line-up according to the situation.

Cummins is the lead fast bowler for the Knight Riders, who also have pacers like Russell, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier and 2018 Indian U-19 World Cup-winning stars, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, in their roster.

KKR mentor David Hussey has backed chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav to come good this year after he had a tournament to forget last time around. Foreigners Tom Banton, Chris Green, Lockie Ferguson and Ali Khan could be deployed at various stages of the competition.

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD

MI and KKR have faced each other 25 times in previous editions, and Mumbai holds the advantage. It has won 19 of those fixtures, while Kolkata has won just six. Mumbai has dominated the recent encounters as well, bagging victories in four of its past five matches against Kolkata.

SQUADS

Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton (Wicketkeeper), Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik (Wicketkeeper), Ali Khan.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Jasprit Bumrah, Quinton de Kock (Wicketkeeper), Kieron Pollard, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ishan Kishan (Wicketkeeper), Aditya Tare (Wicketkeeper), James Pattinson.

MATCH DETAILS

Game No. 5: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians.

Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

Date: September 23, Wednesday.

Time: 7:30 PM IST.