In less than six hours a place in the final of IPL 2017 will be up for grabs. Battling for the finale spot are two spirited sides, the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders. However, there is one thing in common between the two sides both have been crowned champions of this big league twice!
So its a fight between two, double champions for an attempt to grab the title for the third time.While history backs the Mumbai Indians in the head to head encounters, having won 15 of the twenty matches against Kolkata Knight Riders, the momentum is with Kolkata having stormed into the second qualifier after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad.
But do Mumbai Indians stand any chance against this quality KKR line up this time?
They might be feeling confident for they are pretty much aware of the situation. Mumbai Indians had traveled a similar path on their journey of conquering the title in 2013.
While history give the upper hand to the Mumbai Indians against the Kolkata Knight Riders, and familiarity of situation makes a strong case for them. We cannot undermine Kolkata’s familiarity with the pitch having defeated SRH recently, they’ll be better acclimatised with the conditions in Bengaluru.
Both teams have a little to worry about, and the cause of their worries run in contradiction.
Captains of both the teams are players who can make a world of difference. While Gautam Gambhir has been in stellar form this IPL, making significant contributions in most matches. Mumbai Indians are having sleepless night with Rohit Sharma’s poor run with the bat. Having demoted himself down the order Sharma hasn’t quite clicked. This has been his poorest IPL scoring just 283 runs at a strike rate of 124.66. This IPL, the southpaw has been dismissed for a score of 10 or below, nine times.
While Mumbai Indians have a problem of plenty, with having to chose one from Nitish Rana, one of their most consistent batsmen this IPL and Ambati Rayudu who has been back with a bang.
Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians have one problem in common; the spin conundrum, with the former having to choose between Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav, the latter will face a dilemma to pick one from Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma.
Going by the teams what gives Mumbai Indians a strong foothold is that their players have stood up whenever the team needed someone to take the responsibility. Whether it were the Pandya brothers with their all rounding skills or Pollard playing a little unlike himself for the teams cause. Being added to the playing 11 after spending most of the season warming the bench, Lendl Simmons has fired when needed and mind you he is a man of big moments! While Mumbai’s pace attack looks settles with Bumrah, and Malinga being constants, the two Mitchells have been shuffled.
Kolkata too had a story of players taking the onus to drag their team through, but that plot seems to have lost its way. If Kolkata are to win it they need to play as a team unlike Mumbai Indians who might be more dependent on one of their stars to fire. Gambhir, Uthappa, Lynn and Pathan have been amongst the runs all ready to fire. Kolkata will be slight hesitant, as with the ouster of Manish Pandey the onus will be on young Ishank Jaggi, to stabilise the middle order and repay team managements faith.
However a down side for Mumbai has been some odd tactical moves, shuffling between Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell McClenaghan hasn’t gone well. And the absence of Harbhajan Singh from the Qualifier -1 and his replacement with Karn Sharma was only successful in raising eyebrows and inviting criticism.
While Kolkata too has resorted to such antiques, it has some how worked for them more often than not.
So on one side Mumbai depends on individual performances, history and familiarity of situation. On the other Kolkata rest their weight on momentum, familiar playing conditions and partnerships among the players.
so what do you think who has the upper hand?