T20- Mumbai Indians v/s Kolkata Knight Riders
Wankhede Stadium. Mumbai
May 7th , 2013
KKR – WLLWLLLWLLW
The clash between these two teams does appear to be a David Vs Goliath affair with Mumbai Indians having their spirits up after an improbable win against CSK and KKR having looked quite vulnerable this season particularly against the top ranked teams. Mumbai are back to winning ways after their temporary blip at Hyderabad and with home advantage and local conditions, KKR have their task cut out in what is a MUST Win Match for them.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
KKR are a team that is bereft of belief. A title holder tag has not gone down well. A team that has performed in fits and starts has been a pale shadow of its prowess of last year. There is no clarity of purpose visible. Every team wants to win, but a cohesive unit like the CSK perform like a well oiled machine.The double G has struggled to lead with flair and firmness befitting of a leader. His own need to prove and get picked for team India have been more overriding objectives than the job on hand. He has also had a fair share of the bad press on account of his on field spats with Virat Kohli ( no stranger to controversies either ) and then with Rahul Dravid, which certainly did not go down too well with the Indian fans. It can work now to his advantage as the doors are shut on him for the Champions trophy. A “ nothing to lose captain and playing for pride” team can prove party poopers.
A team that has been picked with slow low Eden in mind, has failed to come to terms at any other venue. They look half baked. The opening slot vacated for Yusuf has not yielded desired outcomes. Sunil Narine on tracks outside of Kolkata is not even half a bowler. Kallis’s up and down display and Morgan’s erratic contribution have left SRK looking like an actor, who is playing to the gallery, but lacking conviction. His theatrics and presence and pep talk may not inject the tonic that KKR need to turn the tide.
X Factor : The double G for Double K. Nothing to lose, nothing to prove, a spurned opener and a clueless captain could need just this rejection to switch him on. His hard-nosed belligerence and a point to prove to the selectors and his adoring owner may spur him to deliver. A wicket that is ideally suited for his type of cricket, GG may be the man to look out for.
In contrast to Gambhir, the Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma has undoubtedly been the talisman of their team this season. He has by his own admission revelled in captaining the side which was thrust upon him midway through the tournament.. It is also refreshing to see the young Indian lad talk with some temerity at his command, of how he intends to ensure that visiting teams fear coming to Mumbai and hopes to convert Wankhede into a fortress for his team. Rohit shall be looking to continue his personal form and even in the last match, the crucial stimulus that he provided in partnership with Harbhajan Singh against Chennai went a long way in sealing an improbable Mumbai win. A word for the Mumbai Indians bowlers as well who defended a paltry 139 in the last match against CSK with aplomb. Mitchell Johnson has arguably been the best new ball bowler in the tournament and he along with the 2 Indian spin twins have made life difficult for the opposition. If that wasn’t enough, a return of form for Slingaa Malingaa in the last match has ensured that Mumbai have all bases covered as far as their bowling is concerned
Sachin Tendulkar. In a team game, this format allows individual brilliance to upset the applecart of an entire bunch. Even by law of averages, he has to deliver. Having stayed at the top of his game for so long, he is aware of the lack of start at the top. MI shall annihilate any opposition if a rollicking, free spirited Tendulkar were to blossom. An uninhibited display in the crunch matches shall lift the veil of hesitancy and tentativeness that have plagued the team.
Who needs the victory more? In any competition at its business end, a team more hungry, more in need to win, generally pips the opponent at the post. And don’t MI need the win more desperately, after RR have edged ahead of them in the net Run Rate? Not only a win, but a huge win to get the net RR that can keep them ahead in the race for the top 4, shall egg Tendulkar to seal the critics’ collective mouths shut and the detractors proved incorrect yet again. What pray, is the source of inspiration for the KKR? A hysterical owner in the stand ( oops, albeit carrying a mask on his face ) may not provide the fuel enough to ignite the passion to win.