Despite the early loss, Mumbai Indians wouldn’t be too worried. They are traditionally slow starters, who tend to pick up pace as the tournament progresses and peak when it matters the most. The one big question for MI is whether to bring Quinton de Kock back at the top of the order now that he is available. De Kock has done a terrific job for Mumbai with the bat in the last two seasons. However, despite running out his skipper in the last game, Chris Lynn gave a good account of himself with 49.
The middle and lower order though crumbled in the wake of some excellent bowling from Harshal Patel. The big-hitters like Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - will be expected to do a much better job for MI against KKR.
In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah once again stood out. He kept the runs down and claimed two wickets as well. Trent Boult was rendered somewhat ineffective in the absence of any movement. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar too struggled to make an impact. There are definitely a few areas for MI to work upon.
KKR will be pleased with the way they turned up against SRH and would want to carry the momentum into the big game. Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi played spectacular knocks for the franchise while Dinesh Karthik provided the finishing touches with a smart cameo. KKR lost their way a bit in the middle. They should be wary of the same. Opener Shubman Gill and skipper Eoin Morgan will be keen to get some runs as they have been struggling for a while.
In the bowling, pacers Prasidh Krishna was highly effective once again while Pat Cummins also did a good. The spinners however were found lacking. Varun Chakravarthy did not look menacing, Shakib Al Hasan got one wicket but seemed somewhat rusty. As for Harbhajan Singh, he was given only one over to bowl.
Predicted Playing XIs
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Shakib Al Hasan, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Varun Chakravarthy, Harbhajan Singh, and Prasidh Krishna.
Mumbai Indians: Chris Lynn, Rohit Sharma (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, and Jasprit Bumrah.
--Renin Wilben Albert