Kolkata Knight Riders seek to register playoffs berth against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
This encounter can be considered as the most important one for Kolkata because if they win this game; then they will register a berth for themselves in the playoffs. If they lose, it would be a difficult task for Gautam Gambhir-led side. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, are the only team so far to qualify for the playoffs.
Mumbai Indians leaked enormous amount of runs in their previous game against Kings XI Punjab; where Punjab after riding on Wriddhiman Saha’s unbeaten 93 smashed 230 runs in 20 overs. It caused a good amount of pressure on the batsmen as they failed to go over the line; even after showing magnificent batting skills on Thursday night.
Both the teams are on a two-game losing streak and will be looking to break it ahead of the playoffs.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The hosts will be assured of a spot in the top-four if they win against Mumbai Indians. A big win will assure them of a top-two finish. They can qualify even if they lose but will be dependent on other results to go their way.
The team is still sweating over the fitness of Nathan Coulter-Nile. The pace bowling all-rounder did not practice on Friday (May 12), leaving doubts over his participation. Given their nemesis Rohit Sharma’s weakness against legspin (dismissed five times this season); they might well consider including Piyush Chawla in place of Kuldeep Yadav.
Having already qualified, their only interest will be in the top-two finish and a possible playoffs game at home. They might still finish there even after losing provided other results go their way.
Their bowlers suffered a hammering in their last outing; but the batsmen still managed to make a game out of it. They are likely to treat that as the inevitable one-off game and stick with a similar combination.
Karn Sharma has done well in the opportunities provided and so has the man he replaced, Krunal Pandya. Mumbai Indians will rotate the duo based on the opposition and strategies. Given that Pandya did well (3/24) the last time these two teams met; there is a possibility that he comes back into the eleven.
Probable Lineups :
Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir (c), Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot.
Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel (wk), Nitish Rana, Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Karn Sharma/Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah.