Mumbai Indians KKR Lendl Simmons Andre Russell Kieron Pollard Sunil Narine
The West Indians from both sides will have a big say on the resultRon Gaunt/IPL/Sportzpics

The race for the IPL 2015 playoffs is going right down to the wire, with the latest in a series of "lose it and you will be in trouble" matches comes in the shape of Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

MI saw a terrific five-match winning run halted in stunning fashion by RCB on Sunday, with AB De Villiers taking the game away from the home side with an unbelievable hundred.

That loss meant, MI are right behind the eight ball again when it comes to finishing in the top four, with only a win against KKR acceptable.

"The game doesn't worry us much," MI coach Ricky Ponting said. "The last five games or so have been pretty much the same in that they were all must-win games for us.

"After getting off to a slow start we have just focused on every game and played all of them as a final.

"[The KKR match] is probably the most important game for us. There is no point looking at the mathematics and how other teams are doing because we have no control over that. We have control over our performance and we will make sure we play our best game."

Mumbai Indians certainly did not play their best game the last time these two sides met in Kolkata in the opening match of IPL 2015. Crashing to 37/3, MI needed a brilliant partnership from Rohit Sharma and Corey Anderson to take them to a decent score of 168.

However, KKR made that target look easier than an apple pie, chasing it down with nine balls and seven wickets to spare. The Kolkata Knight Riders have always been a chasing team, but this campaign, they have added another dimension to their repertoire, with the bowlers coming to the fore when asked to defend a total.

KKR are on a three-match winning run going into this key contest, with Gautam Gambhir's men taking full advantage of playing their last three games at home. The Wankhede wicket, however, is not as conducive to spin as the Eden Gardens pitch, and only time will tell if KKR will decide to go with a four-spinners-attack again.

"Stating the obvious, we will have to win," KKR bowling coach Wasim Akram said. "But we are playing Mumbai Indians in their own den. They are in good nick -- they won five on the trot before losing their last game -- and I think the pressure will be equal on both sides.

"We are in the last leg of the league phase and we still don't know which teams are going to make the top four."

It certainly is pretty tight at the top with six teams still very much in with a shot of qualifying for the playoffs. KKR are currently second with 15 points from 12 matches, one behind leaders CSK, while MI are sixth on 12 points from the same number of games. A win for KKR on Thursday and they will zoom over CSK to the top of the table, while MI can go level on points with third and fourth-placed SRH and RR respectively with a victory of their own.

So, plenty at stake then, and with the Wankhede always filled with runs, this should be a cracker of a game, where both teams' bowling attack will be tested.

Where to Watch Live

Get the Match Report and Highlights HERE

MI vs KKR Match 51 of IPL 2015 is schedule to begin at 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET). Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Aath and Sony Kix are the channels to flip your remote to if you want to watch the match live on TV, while if you fancy having a watch online via live streaming Hotstar or is the place to be for Indian viewers.

Audience watching Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders in UK and Europe can do so on Sky Sports2, with the option to live stream on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports.

Viewers in the US can watch the IPL 2015 game live on ESPN, while all the action can also be live streamed on ESPN Cricket.

Audience across the world can also watch MI vs KKR Live on Cricketgateway.

Also read