Mumbai Indians, KKR, IPL 2017, playoffs, Qualifier 2
Mumbai Indians enjoy a bit of football during a training session, May 18, 2017IANS

The Rising Pune Supergiant will watch on closely as the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders fight it out for a right to play RPS in the final of IPL 2017.

Considering what is at stake, and the talent at both teams' disposal, all signs point to Qualifier 2 being an IPL 2017 playoff match to savour, even if weather and a not-exactly-suited-for—the-T20-format pitch might dampen the mood a little.

While the Chinnaswamy has been the graveyard for bowlers over the past several years, in IPL 2017 it's been the other way around, with the batsmen struggling to get the ball away and ending up with totals that would have been knocked down in half the amount of overs in previous seasons.

What the pitch does do, though, is bring both KKR and MI's bowlers into play.

The Kolkata Knight Riders have the pacers who can mix their pace up really well, while the slower bowlers are wicket-taking options.

MI as well have really good options with the ball – Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga have wicked slower balls, while Mitchell McClenaghan is always amongst the wickets. Harbhajan Singh, Krunal Pandya and Karn Sharma have the ability to pick up wickets in the middle overs.

Gautam Gambhir, KKR, IPL 2017, Mumbai Indians, playoffs
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir needs to fire with the bat againIANS

So, because the bowlers are expected to dominate, this Qualifier 2 will come down to the batting – whichever team adapts quicker and finds a way to score quick runs even when the ball isn't coming on will meet RPS in the final.

If you look at the top four, KKR's batting certainly has a slight edge over MI. if Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine fire at the top, KKR will be able to get to a score above par, especially considering the form that Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, who is due a big knock, are in.

The middle order, though, is certainly stronger for the Mumbai Indians, with Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers. If it comes down to that middle order, then MI will be able to trump KKR.

To be fair, trumping KKR is what the Mumbai Indians have done throughout IPL history. MI have a 15-5 overall head-to-head record, while winning five out of their last six matches against the Knight Riders.

They also won both their league phase matches, chasing down a total they shouldn't have at the Wankhede and defending one they shouldn't have at the Eden Gardens.

So, getting over that mental block that KKR seem to have when it comes to the Mumbai Indians will be key; or else, it will be the fourth Maharashtra derby of the season in the final of the Indian Premier League.

When and where to watch live

MI vs KKR Qualifier 2 is set to begin at 8pm IST, 6.30pm GST, 3.30pm BST, 10.30am ET. TV and live streaming information for the IPL 2017 playoff is below.

India: TV: Sony Max (Hindi), Sony Six, Sony Six HD (English), Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD (Tamil, Telugu, Bengali). Live Streaming: Hotstar.

 

International: Live Streaming: Cricketgateway.

 

Middle East: TV: OSN Sports Cricket HD. Live Streaming: OSN Play.

 

UK: TV: Sky Sports 1. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports.

 

USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.

 

South Africa: TV: SuperSport Two. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.

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