For the first time since 2019, Mumbai Indians will return to Eden Gardens where they enjoy a good record having won 10 out of 13 matches at this venue. Their last outing in Kolkata was a 34-run loss at the hands of the hosts but it turned out to be a memorable season for MI who went on to win the title for the fourth time. But in what has been an IPL 2024 of what-ifs for them, MI land in Kolkata having become the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs race. They are up against a confident Kolkata Knight Riders outfit, who having registered their first win at Wankhede in 12 years, will look to do the double over MI and become the first team to book a berth in the playoffs this season, and solidify their bid to finish in the top two.

KKR’s average powerplay score of 68 is the second highest this season, they have the joint second highest boundary percentage (30.8) in the powerplay, and have lost 16 wickets in this phase, joint second lowest after CSK’s 13. MI, on the other hand, have lost as many as 25 wickets in the powerplay, the highest among all teams. Between them, Phil Salt and Sunil Narine have scored 548 runs at a combined strike rate of 180.86 in the powerplay and have been the chief contributors to KKR’s success this season. Even when they had a rare failure, like they did against MI at Wankhede, KKR have found resources to make up for that. With the bowlers also delivering consistently, and Mitchell Starc having found some form with his four-fer against MI, KKR have a smooth-functioning engine which they’ll be hoping helps them complete a journey that has been going quite well so far.

MI, on the other hand, have been plagued by inconsistencies. Barring Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma, their batting has been a let-down in this competition. A highest of 11 to go with single digit scores in his last five innings, Rohit Sharma hasn’t been on song, nor for that matter Ishan Kishan who has a highest of 32 in his last seven outings. Apart from Jasprit Bumrah, none of their bowlers feature in the top 15 list of wicket-takers in this IPL. But the win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last game, where they restricted their power-packed batting to 173 before Suryakumar’s century got them over the line, will give them some confidence as they’ll be hoping to finish a disappointing season with a couple of victories and add more chaos to the heavy mid-table traffic.

When: KKR vs MI, Saturday, May 11 at 19:30 IST

Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

What to expect: Although Delhi Capitals were restricted to 153, which the Knight Riders chased down in 16.3 overs, high scores have been the flavour of this season in Kolkata. Early in the season SRH came close to KKR’s 208, RR chased down a target of 224, RCB fell one short of KKR’s 222 while Punjab Kings mowed down a target of 262 in 18.4 overs. Another high-scoring game is on the cards. Although it has been raining in Kolkata and disrupted KKR’s arrival in the city, the forecast around the match time looks promising.

Head to head: Kolkata Knight Riders 10 – 23 Mumbai Indians

Teams watch

Kolkata Knight Riders

Injury/Availability: The KKR camp currently don’t have any injury concerns.

Tactics & Matchups: Including his dismissal in the last MI-KKR clash, Rohit Sharma has been dismissed 10 times by Sunil Narine while he has also fallen to left-arm pace five times this season, which would make Mitchell Starc a good combination with the West Indian in the powerplay. Among the current KKR batters, Shreyas Iyer has handled Jasprit Bumrah pretty well – 59 runs off 40 balls, 1 dismissal, batting strike rate of 147.50 – and the home team will bank on the skipper to negate his threat as well as take on the MI spinners. Andre Russell has dismissed Suryakumar thrice in 26 deliveries, including the last match, and KKR could look at this matchup to work in their favour.

Probable XI: Phil Salt (wk), Sunil Narine, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Shreyas Iyer (c), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Varun Chakaravarthy, Harshit Rana [Impact sub: Vaibhav Arora/Manish Pandey]

Mumbai Indians

Injury/Availability: MI also don’t have any fitness-related issues in their setup.

Tactics & Matchups: Nuwan Thushara made an early impact against KKR in the last game and MI will bank on the slingy paceman from Sri Lanka to deliver again. Bumrah is a good matchup against Venkatesh Iyer and Rinku Singh, having dismissed them twice each. They could also perhaps consider Luke Wood who despite registering the most expensive figures for MI (1-68 vs DC) can offer some favourable matchups for MI against the likes of Narine, Shreyas and Venkatesh, who have been dismissed by left-arm pace a combined nine times in this IPL.

Probable XI: Ishan Kishan (wk), Rohit Sharma, Naman Dhir, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya (c), Tim David, Anshul Kamboj/Luke Wood, Piyush Chawla, Jasprit Bumrah, Nuwan Thushara. [Imact sub: Dewald Brevis/Romario Shepherd]

Did you know?

– Kolkata Knight Riders’ top three have contributed 1160 runs this season, the second most after RCB, their combined strike rate of 176.02 is the second highest after SRH, and have the second most number of fifty-plus scores (10) after RCB. MI’s top-three have scored the least runs (833) and have the joint least fifty-plus scores (4) along with Punjab Kings.

– Among the pacers who have bowled 20 overs or more in this IPL, Mitchell Starc’s economy rate of 11.37 in the second most after Anrich Nortje’s 13.36

– Jasprit Bumrah has bowled 139 dot deliveries, the most in this IPL, and his economy of 6.2 is the least among all bowlers. For KKR, Sunil Narine has bowled the most dot deliveries (101) and is second on the list of best economy with 6.61 (minimum 10 overs)

What they said

“They have been splendid for us, the way they are playing their shots is pure bliss. They are setting us up and giving momentum and no matter what the situation is, we are playing with a positive mindset. A lefty-righty combination makes things difficult for the opposition, the bowlers have to change their plans and that makes a difference” – Shreyas Iyer, KKR captain, on the openers.

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