Thursday, May 14, 2015
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
With the league stage reaching its business end, the objective for most teams is simple - win. Four points separate first from sixth and every result involving those sides count.
Kolkata Knight Riders will be assured of a spot in the playoffs if they win against Mumbai Indians, who in turn could climb into a three-way tie for third or fourth place if they overcome Knight Riders. While Mumbai's five-match unbeaten streak was ended by a batting masterclass from AB de Villiers, Knight Riders initiated a decent run of their own, winning four of their last five games.
Mumbai will be banking on home advantage and their international talent to manufacture a win. The strength of the coaching staff in the Mumbai camp has been a source of amusement in the IPL, but sound management decisions could make a difference in this crucial encounter. A loss against Knight Riders could put to waste a remarkable turnaround to their season.
Knight Riders have struggled on the road this season - three of their four losses have been away from home. They will also have to contemplate the balance of the team, now that they are playing away from Kolkata. But if Shakib Al Hasan, who has joined the side, is available, a straight swap with Johan Botha could be the most plausible solution.
Though Mumbai have beaten Knight Riders 10 times in 15 matches since the inception of the IPL, Knight Riders have won their previous three meetings, including a comfortable seven-wicket victory in a roller-coaster opening game to this season.
Mumbai Indians LWWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Kolkata Knight Riders WWWLW
Watch out for
Rohit Sharma, by his standards, has been off colour since the first game of the season, when he scored an unbeaten 98 against Knight Riders. Given the success of Mumbai's opening partnership, Rohit batting at No. 3 irrespective of the situation, would not be a bad move.
In 11 matches, Knight Riders' opening pair of Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir have put up stands of over 30 in eight games. A lot of quality exists between the pair not to carry on from that platform and lay the foundation for a brutal assault from the middle order.
Stats and trivia
Rohit Sharma has scored 473 runs in 15 matches at an average of 43.00 against Knight Riders. Only Suresh Raina has scored more(482).
Andre Russell's strike-rate of 179.79 is the best in the IPL, among batsmen who have played a minimum of 125 balls.
"I have been watching Chris Gayle and after playing with him for the national side, I consider him my idol."
Knight Riders allrounder Andre Russell on where he gets his inspiration from