IPL 2021 preview: Can KKR break the MI jinx?

After crushing Sunrisers Hyderabad in its opening game, Eoin Morgan’s side will be hoping to turn the tide against Mumbai Indians this time around.

Eoin Morgan

MI has the upper hand over KKR in the IPL. Out of 27 games between the two teams, MI has won 21 while KKR could bag only six wins.   -  BCCI/IPL

Eoin Morgan’s tactical blueprint of relentlessly aggressive batting, which won England the 50-over World Cup, seems to be the mantra for Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 IPL.

KKR batted in top gear against Sunrisers Hyderabad to start the tournament on a high. It beat David Warner’s side by 10 runs. And when it meets Mumbai Indians at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday, expect KKR to go berserk with the bat once again.

The side will be keen on improving its head-to-head record against the five-time champion and keeping the net run rate (NRR) up.

Of the 27 games between the teams, KKR has managed just six wins to Mumbai’s 21.

Hardik had shoulder concern but will bowl soon: Zaheer

Key players

Left-hander Nitish Rana, who blasted 80 off 56 in the opener, should continue with the fireworks in the PowerPlay. He has a seasoned partner in Shubman Gill, who can negate the Jasprit Bumrah threat.

MI will be hoping to put up a better show with the bat after managing just 159 in its first match of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Skipper Rohit Sharma, who missed out on a big score due to an unfortunate run out, will be eager to flex his muscles against his favourite opponent.

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Rohit has 939 runs against KKR in the IPL at an average of 46.95. Even his only hundred in the tournament came against the Kolkata side.

South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock is out of quarantine and available for selection. It remains to be seen whether he makes the final XI ahead of Chris Lynn, who scored 49 off 35 balls against RCB.

Hardik Pandya did not bowl in the first game due to a shoulder niggle, but is expected to roll his arm over against KKR.

Message from a special player

It has been three or four years that I left MI. I had a great career. Those 10 years were special. They were like family and I had a great bonding with the team. Whatever I am today is because of MI. They supported me and gave me that freedom to express myself. So thank you, MI but now I am playing for a different team. I was with Chennai Super Kings and this season for KKR, I am looking forward to go out there and do whatever I have been doing, or maybe do better.

- Harbhajan Singh, former Mumbai Indians spinner now in KKR

 

KKR vs MI in numbers

46: The number of runs Shubman Gill needs to complete 1,000 runs in the IPL.

3: The number of sixes Rohit Sharma needs to hit to surpass M.S. Dhoni’s record of 216 sixes in the IPL.

41: The number of runs Quinton de Kock needs to complete 2,000 runs in the IPL.

2: The number of sixes Kieron Pollard needs to hit to complete 200 sixes in the IPL.

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