Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians have locked horns at the Wankhede Stadium on nine occasions, of which the home team won eight times.
KKR hasn’t been able to break the jinx at the iconic venue since 2012, but when the two teams square off in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on Sunday afternoon, KKR will be hoping to change its fortunes.
So far in the tournament, KKR has had its share of highs and lows, with two wins and as many defeats, whereas Mumbai Indians suffered two defeats in the first three games.
With Rinku Singh in red-hot form - with scores of unbeaten 48 and 58 in his last two outings, batting at No. 7 - the KKR think-tank believes that it is the perfect opportunity to set the record straight against the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians.
Despite KKR going down to Sunrisers Hyderabad in a high-scoring home game, Rinku and captain Nitish Rana fought valiantly. They would be hoping to keep the momentum going.
Andre Russell’s struggling form has been a concern for KKR and it also needs to be seen whether Jason Roy is made to open the innings in place of Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
After scoring a half-century against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Afghan stumper-batter failed to get going with scores of 15 and 0 in the last two games. A section of the cricketing fraternity believes that bringing in Roy as an opener will help the Knights accelerate the run flow in the Powerplay.
Returning to winning ways against Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians is set to be without Jofra Archer. “At the moment Jof is being managed by the medical team and I am not a part of those conversations. Whenever they have him ready to play he will be ready to go,” said Tim David on the eve of the game.
In Archer’s absence, the focus will be on Jason Behrendorff and Riley Meredith, while Piyush Chawla will handle the spin department. In the last game, the seasoned spinner claimed three wickets, and he will be hoping to keep it going.
In terms of batting, the onus will again be on captain Rohit, who returned to form with a match-winning 65 against Delhi Capitals. But as the tournament progresses, he needs to be consistent and provide steady starts, along with Ishan Kishan.
While the onus lies on Tilak Verma, David and Cameron Green to steady the middle order, Suryakumar Yadav’s lean patch has been a concern.
The batter scored just 16 runs in three games and ahead of a key game, he had a long session in the nets on Saturday, hoping to find his mojo. Despite the tough times, the India international has got enough backing from his teammates.
“I do not have any concerns about Surya. In the last game, he played a shot that he plays all the time and it normally goes for a six. He was prepared to put his innings on the line for the team and walked out in that situation to do that,” David said.
“He is an important part of the team as much as anyone and we know when he is going to be in his best form he is going to score in the 90s and 100s and win us games…”
And just like David, the team management, too, would hope for Surya to bounce back as the league enters the crucial phase.
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