The last match of the regular season in the Indian Premier League makes up the second half of the double header in the tournament as the Mumbai Indians take on the Kolkata Knight Riders with everyone on the line for both sides.
The Mumbai Indians go into the match knowing that if they win they will finish in the top two in the table and give themselves two shots at making the final while the Kolkata Knight Riders will make it into the play-offs if they win. If they lose their season is done.
The Mumbai Indians are historically a very strong side at this time of an Indian Premier League season and come into this match having won their last two matches. Usually though we are used to seeing them having to win from a long way out to make it into the play-offs but that hasn’t been the case this term, such has been their quality over the course of the season.
There have been two big facets to their success thus far. In the main their bowling attack has been devastating. If teams have got away from them early doors then their death bowling prowess has got them over the line but quite often they have had sides on the back foot throughout. The other strength is their power down the order to either get them to a decent total or propel a platform to something outrageous.
Kolkata Knight Riders
This has been a very strange season for the Kolkata Knight Riders. They started it like a train, then the cart got derailed for a couple of weeks and now they have it back on the tracks and picking up speed at the right time once again. They now know that they have to keep it going for four more matches if they are to win the title, but they’ve been on these kind of runs before.
The reason for their good form and indeed their dip in form has been their batting. When they are on song they can reach any target or post any score but when they are even slightly off colour they can look a bit of a mess. They need their batting to fire though because their bowling attack has been cannon fodder throughout the course of the campaign and that is unlikely to change now.
Mumbai Indians have no massive need to change their personnel here. There would be a case for resting players had a top two finish been assured but it hasn’t so they are likely to send out a full strength side.
Unless the Kolkata Knight Riders want to switch their bowling personnel around they too are likely to be unchanged for this one. Harry Gurney could be vulnerable after taking a carting but whether there are better options remains to be seen.
In many ways this is like a knockout match before the knockout stuff begins. It isn’t technically do or die for the Mumbai Indians but it certainly is for the Kolkata Knight Riders so I’m struggling to see how this won’t be a high scoring contest. That actually suits me fine because as people know by now I’m no fan of betting on the match result at the Wankhede.
The sixes line for this match is 15.5 but you’ve got to think that is going to get blown away over the course of the piece. There were 29 sixes in the reverse match between these two and while we might not see quite so many with the added pressure on this match I’m still expecting a bunch of fireworks. Kolkata can’t stem the flow of runs but they are the biggest hitting team in the competition. Bombs away here me thinks.
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