IPL 2024: Can Mumbai Indians surprise KKR tomorrow?

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 02, 2024 IST

MI Team

Mumbai, May 2: They do not always start their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaigns very well. At times, they come back strongly after losing a few matches initially and even walk away with the title.

But can they do it again this time? This year, Mumbai Indians, the five-time IPL trophy winners, have been in the news before the tournament kicked off, for a captaincy change.

Their leader this season Hardik Pandya, was a part of their squad earlier. But he has been new franchise Gujarat Titans' captain during 2022 and 2023. Under him GT even lifted the trophy in 2022.

With former skipper Rohit Sharma struggling to win more titles in the last couple of seasons, Mumbai got back Hardik and handed him the captaincy. But once the BCCI named Rohit as Team India's captain for the upcoming ICC Men's t20 World Cup 2024, Mumbai fans reacted.

Rohit's supporters wanted to see him back as MI captain. Under Harik's leadership, Mumbai have not done that well so far. They have only three wins from 10 matches and chances of their making into the play-offs seem bit unlikely too.  

With their campaign in disarray following seven defeats in 10 matches, MI now return home after three successive away defeats in four games for their next three home matches. They face Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday.

MI are currently tied at the bottom with Royal Challengers Bengaluru, both have six points from three wins -- they are placed ninth on NRR. 

On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders are second in the points table with 12 points from nine matches with 12 points.

Though Mumbai have lost quite a lot of battles, the war is not over yet, they still have faint chances. They need a miracle to make it to the next stage this season.

Set to meet KKR twice within eight days (they will play them again at the Eden Gardens on May 11), Hardik Pandya's MI will hope to win their remaining four matches and hope other results go in their favour. Four wins in their remaining games will take them to 14 points and keep alive their hopes of making it among the top four to make it to the playoffs.

But considering their performance, they face a steep climb to the top as they face KKR twice besides Sunrisers Hyderabad and Lucknow Super Giants in their next four matches. All three teams are in contention for the playoff spots and have everything to play for as the tournament enters in the mad scramble for the playoff spots.

At this moment, table toppers Rajasthan Royals seem in a comfortable position with 16 points from nine matches.

Mumbai, on the other hand, have had an indifferent season so far, starting with three defeats and coming into Friday's clash with KKR after three losses in a row -- losing to Lucknow Super Giants, Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals.

Their defeat in their last match against LSG was particularly disappointing as they were restricted to a paltry 144/7 in 20 overs and though their bowlers did fight back, a four-wicket loss really exposed all the problem areas in the squad.

The batting unit, despite the presence of players like India captain and six-time IPL winner Rohit Sharma (he was with Deccan Chargers earlier, when they won the championship), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Tim David, Hardik Pandya and Romario Shepherd. Tilak Verma is currently their top scorer with 343 runs from 10 matches and a strike of 153.81 while Rohit Sharma is second with 315 runs in 10 innings with 105 not out as his best score.

Despite the abundance of talent at their disposal, they have struggled for consistency and their batting has not been up to the mark.

On the bowling front, Jasprit Bumrah is currently holding the Purple Cap with 14 wickets from 10 matches, the same as Mustafizur Rahman of Chennai Super Kings and Harshal Patel of Punjab Kings. MI's South African is not far behind with 13 wickets from nine matches. The rest of their bowlers have struggled for success.

Coach Mark Boucher and skipper Pandya will be hoping that a return to their home ground will turn their fortunes once again. At the start of the league, they had come back to the Wankhede Stadium after three successive defeats and revived their campaign with three wins in four matches.

With a typical Wankhede pitch awaiting them, Pandya will be hoping that his batters, especially Rohit, Ishan and Suryakumar find their mojo back and flourish on the home ground.

Rohit had scored his second century in IPL at the Wankhede against CSK in a losing cause here earlier last month. Their top bowler, Bumrah had produced his best figures of 5-21 at the Wankhede and the team will be hoping for him to recreate the magic in the last three matches at home.

Their opponents on Friday, KKR are currently with 12 points from nine matches. They have played quite well so far with openers Sunil Narine and Phil Salt both scoring more than 350 runs so far. Narine has scored a hundred and two fifties while Phil Salt has struck four half-centuries so far.

They have a strong middle order with the likes of skipper Shreyas Iyer, and Venkatesh Iyer has done reasonably well with Rinku Singh and Andre Russell reprising the role of finisher successfully on a couple of occasions.

Narine has been their best bowler so far with 11 wickets from nine matches while Varun Chakravarthy and Harshit Rana too have taken 11 wickets each. Rana, however, is not available for this match as he has been suspended by BCCI for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct.

Rana was pulled up for breaching Article 2.5 -- a Level 1 offence -- in the clash with Delhi Capitals on Monday (April 29) and was fined 100 percent of his match fee and was suspended for one match.

KKR will be banking on their batting might against MI on Friday. A victory in Friday's Match 51 of IPL 2024 will push KKR closer to the top spot while victory for their opponents will revive Mumbai Indians' faint hopes of reaching the play-offs.

The two teams have played each other 32 times with Mumbai Indians winning 23 matches and KKR triumphing in nine. But on current form, Kolkata Knight Riders look favourite to win their 10th match in the head-to-head series and improve their chances of advancing to the playoffs.

Squads:

Mumbai Indians: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya(c), Nehal Wadhera, Tim David, Mohammad Nabi, Piyush Chawla, Luke Wood, Jasprit Bumrah, Nuwan Thushara, Naman Dhir, Shams Mulani, Dewald Brevis, Kumar Kartikeya, Shreyas Gopal, Harvik Desai, Gerald Coetzee, Romario Shepherd, Arjun Tendulkar, Shivalik Sharma, Anshul Kamboj, Akash Madhwal, Kwena Maphaka

Kolkata Knight Riders: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Philip Salt (wicket-keeper),Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Dushmantha Chameera, Varun Chakaravarthy, Harshit Rana (suspended), Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy, Manish Pandey, Vaibhav Arora, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mitchell Starc, Allah Ghazanfar, Sakib Hussain, Sherfane Rutherford, Chetan Sakariya, Nitish Rana, Srikar Bharat.

Can Mumbai regain their old magic and surprise others? Well, Mumbai Indians players, team management and MI fans would be hoping so. (With IANS support)

    Tags
  • Rohit Sharma
  • Mumbai Indians (MI)
  • Hardik Pandya
  • Indian Premier League (IPL)
  • Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
  • IPL 2024

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