IPL 2018, MI vs KKR: Mumbai threat looms large as Kolkata up against odds

In today’s IPL 2018 match, KKR have an onerous task as they need to defy history against MI, who have won 17 of the 21 matches against Kolkata Knight Riders across 11 seasons. Catch IPL latest updates

In the 41st match of Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) led by Dinesh Karthik at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Back in the mix riding consecutive victories, a buoyant Mumbai Indians will cross swords with an erratic Kolkata Knight Riders for a second time in a space of three days in IPL today’s match. Recovering from a slow start, defending champions MI recorded back-to-back wins against Kings XI Punjab and KKR to jump to fifth spot (8 points from 10 games) in the Vivo IPL points table. KKR, meanwhile, have blown hot and cold, winning five and losing an equal number of matches.

KKR have an onerous task at hand as they need to defy history against Mumbai Indians, who have won 17 of the 21 matches against the Kolkata Knight Riders across 11 seasons — the most wins for an IPL team against any opponent. Their 13-run defeat at the Wankhede on May 6 stretched their losing streak to seven matches and 1125 days — KKR’s last win over Mumbai Indians was way back on April 8, 2015. While the Dinesh Karthik-led KKR have not managed to string together consistent performances, MI led by India’s limited-over Vice Captain Rohit Sharma have looked like a team on a mission to turn the tide in their favour at the end of the IPL 2018.

Mumbai Indians were on the verge of falling by the wayside after losing most of the starting matches in the last over before they managed to pull through in the previous two games. While against Kings XI Punjab it was a Rohit and Krunal Pandya blitz that kept them alive in the competition, a challenging 181/4 coupled with well-directed short balls during KKR’s chase helped MI stay afloat and stake a claim for a playoffs berth. KKR looked like getting away with the points at various junctures of the match but planned short deliveries from the likes of Mitchell McClenaghan at the start and Hardik Pandya towards the end helped MI pick up wickets at regular intervals as well as break crucial partnerships. Given the role of an opening batsman, Suryakumar Yadav has been a revelation for MI and will to continue the same in IPL today’s match, scoring as many as four half centuries in 10 matches. The 27-year-old former KKR player is MI’s highest run-getter amassing 399 at 39.90. One concern for Rohit would be MI’s middle order which continued to struggle against KKR and had it not been for Hardik’s innovative shots at the end, they would have not managed to post 181 despite getting off to an explosive start. MI also lack depth in bowling and Robin Uthappa almost exposed that in the previous match of IPL 2018.

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