With three victories on the trot, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be a confident unit when they take on Mumbai Indians (MI) on Thursday at the Wankhede Stadium.
KKR just need a victory to clinch a playoffs berth, while Mumbai Indians have to defeat Gautam Gambhir's side if they are to increase their chances of progressing beyond the league stages. MI have also shown great form of late with five victories in their last six IPL matches.
When these two teams met in the first game of IPL 2015, KKR came up with a professional display to turn victorious by 7 wickets. Gambhir will want his team to do the double over Mumbai Indians and reach the playoffs with a game in hand.
With a number of quality players in show at Wankhede , here is a look at some players who can turn the game in their side's favour.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Robin Uthappa – The wicketkeeper-batsman, after an impressive performance last season, has been one of the mainstays for KKR this campaign as well with the bat. He has scored 325 runs so far at an average of 32.50. Uthappa has batted with controlled aggression and he has provided solid starts at the top of the order for other players such as Andre Russell to use his long handle to good effect. But, when required, the batsman can unleash his array of shots and score runs at a quick rate.
Andre Russell – The West Indian is enjoying his best IPL season ever with both the bat and ball. He has amassed 287 runs in IPL 2015, along with taking 11 wickets. But, it is his batting that has been the major talking point, with his strike rate reading 197.93. The all-rounder has hit 17 sixes in the tournament and has been impressive in taking the attack to the bowlers. With the ball in his hand, he has been wise with changes of pace, along with bowling a decent line and length.
Rohit Sharma – The Mumbai Indians skipper is the best batsman in the side, and Rohit has to lead the team from the front in this crucial encounter. He has scored 376 runs in IPL 2015. The elegant right-hander clears the fence with ease against both seamers as well as spinners, which makes him a dangerous batsman. If Rohit stays at the crease for around 10 overs, his team will be in the driver's seat.
Lendl Simmons - The West Indian was not a first choice opener for MI, but with Aaron Finch's injury, the right-hander has replaced the Australian. Simmons has taken the opportunity quite well. MI have big hitters such as Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma, so Simmons' job has been to provide a solid start at the top, for the middle order to make full use of. Simmons has scored 345 runs in IPL 2015 at an impressive average of 43.12.