The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will take on the Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Wednesday. It will be their first meeting in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013.
Both the teams will take the field on Wednesday after facing back-to-back defeats in their respective matches.
KKR are placed at the seventh position on the table, winning only two of the six matches played so far. They lost the last two games against Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings. Pressure seems to have mounted on the defending champions following their poor performance this season. They will be keen to get back to winning ways and secure a place in the last four.
MI are placed at the sixth position on the table, just above KKR. They have earned six points after winning three of the six matches played so far. Their main worry this season is their inconsistent performance. Just when they were on a roll, winning three consecutive matches, Rajasthan Royals thrashed them by 87 runs, and then Delhi Daredevils registered their first win this season after defeating them by nine wickets. Wounded MI will be keen to win on Wednesday.
KKR and MI have met ten times in the past and the latter won on eigth occasions. However, Wednesday's match will be their first meeting this season.
Kolkata Knight Riders: The biggest worry for the KKR is the poor form of their batsmen. Skipper Gautam Gambhir is the only consistent performer in the team. They managed to put up a total of just 119 runs in the previous match against the CSK, which is a very small score in this format of the game.
On the bowling front, they have Sunil Narine, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Rajat Bhatia, Sachithra Senanayake and Lakshmipathy Balaji. Narine's performance has been outstanding throughout the tournament but other bowlers were inconsistent.
Mumbai Indians: All eyes will be on batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who is celebrating his 40th birthday on Wednesday. He hinted return of form in the previous match by scoring 54 runs, and winning on his birthday will be a perfect gift not only for MI supporters but also his fans around the globe.
Dinesh Karthik has turned out to be the backbone of MI this season, performing consistently well since the tournament begun. Rohith Sharma also joined the party in the previous match by scoring 73 from just 43 balls. Skipper Ricky Ponting, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard should pull up their socks and contribute.
They have bowlers like Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, Kieron Pollard, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishi Dhawan at their disposal but their performance in the last two matches was disappointing. They allowed RR to amass 179 runs for three wickets, and then failed to defend a total of 161, which DD won by nine wickets. The big names in the team should take early wickets and restrict their opponents from putting up a huge total.
KKR are a strong team and has home ground advantage but MI are favourite to win on Wednesday. Ricky Ponting's men will try to make Sachin Tendulkar's birthday special with a win.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Brendon McCullum, Brett Lee, Debabrata Das, Eoin Morgan, Iqbal Abdulla, Jacques Kallis, James Pattinson, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Manoj Tiwary, Manvinder Bisla, Shami Ahmed, Pradeep Sangwan, Rajat Bhatia, Ryan McLaren, Ryan ten Doeschate, Sachithra Senanayake, Sarabjit Ladda, Shakib Al Hassan, Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan
Mumbai Indians: Ricky Ponting (captain), Abu Nechim Ahmed, Akshar Patel, Aditya Tare, Aiden Blizzard, Ambati Rayudu, Amitoze Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Harbhajan Singh, Jacob Oram, Jalaj Saxena, James Franklin, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Munaf Patel, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Phil Hughes, Pawan Suyal, Pragyan Ojha, Rishi Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal
Where to Watch Live
The match will begin at 8:00 pm IST and will be telecast live on Sony Set Max channel.