The last time these two sides, it turned out to be a six-fest of monumental proportions. As Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders gear up for the final league game of IPL 2019 on Sunday, the protagonists from that match will square off once again with a lot on line for both teams.
In their previous match-up, KKR star all-rounder Andre Russell blasted 80 off just 40 balls and took two wickets and two catches in a high-scoring win. Russell was almost upstaged by Mumbai gamechanger Hardik Pandya who blasted an astonishing 91 off 34 balls to bring his team to within 34 runs of the 233-run target.
The two hit a combined 17 sixes in that match. With the game on Sunday to be held in Mumbai, chances are sixes will rain once again.
Mumbai have already qualified for the playoffs while KKR have a simple equation in front of them – win and qualify for the playoffs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad could have all but secured qualification had they beaten the hapless RCB on Saturday but they slipped and are now stuck on 12 points with Kolkata. All the Knight Riders need to do now is to win by any margin and make it to the playoffs.
Mumbai will be keen to register a win and climb up to second position. They will be tied with Delhi Capitals on 18 points but will be ahead on net run rate, thus making it to the first Qualifier and not the Eliminator.
Kolkata will also be banking on young batting prodigy Shubman Gill to continue his new-found form at the top of the order as they aim to get a headstart in the powerplay overs.
The youngster has hit successive fifties after being promoted as opener and the Knight Riders will be hoping for an encore to secure qualification.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Barinder Sran, Rahul Chahar, lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah
KKR: Shubman Gill, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (c and wk), Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney, Sandeep Warrier
However, while the bottom-placed hosts have little more than pride to play for, there is a playoffs advantage CSK stand to lose in the worst case scenario.
Chennai top the 2019 Indian Premier League standings heading into Sunday’s fixtures but a hefty defeat to Punjab, as unlikely as that may be, coupled by a victory for Mumbai Indians over Kolkata Knight Riders could see them drop out of the top two spots.
Should that transpire, the defending champions would have to play an extra match in order to make the finals – the Eliminator against the fourth-placed team before taking on the loser from the first Qualifier for a spot in the showpiece event. MS Dhoni and Co will strive to prevent that.
After their most recent defeat to Mumbai, CSK responded with an emphatic 80-run win over Delhi Capitals with the veterans leading the way. Suresh Raina (59) and Dhoni (44*) helped post a first-innings score of 179/4 before Imran Tahir took 4-12 and Ravindra Jadeja 3-9 restricted the opposition to just 99.
Meanwhile, Punjab will want to end their season on a high and avoid finishing it in last place. After Royal Challengers Bangalore’s four wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday, they leapfrogged Kings XI who languish at the foot of the table with just 10 points from 13 games.
Much will depend on the skipper Ravi Ashwin and veteran Mohammed Shami with the ball as Punjab’s bowling, particularly during powerplays, has been a concern.
They needed to win their last game against KKR in order to make the playoffs but despite posting 183/6 in the first innings, they let themselves down in the field and Kolkata, led by opener Shubman Gill’s unbeaten 65 off 46, were able to chase down the target with seven wickets and two overs to spare.
KXIP: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicolas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravi Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
CSK: Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jhadav, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir.
Shimron Hetmyer returned to the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up for the first time in a month and made it count as his fifty secured a four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their final league game of IPL 2019.
Sunrisers posted 175-7 thanks to a captain’s knock of 70 from Kane Williamson. RCB were rocked early, reduced to 20-3 before Hetmyer (75) and Gurkeerat Singh (65) added 144 runs to take the hosts close to victory on Saturday.
Hyderabad ended the league phase on 12 points and will now have to hope Kolkata Knight Riders – also on 12 points but with an inferior net run rate – lose their final game against Mumbai Indians on Sunday to secure playoff qualification.
Sundar reins Hyderabad in
Sunrisers made a decent start with openers Wriddhiman Saha and Martin Guptill added 46 inside five overs. But the introduction of spinner Washington Sundar put a brake on the scoring.
The offie removed opener Guptill before having in-form Manish Pandey caught acrobatically by Hetmyer. Sundar also accounted for the dangerous Vijay Shankar, capping a superb day with the ball as he finished with 3-24 from his three fours.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had a brilliant day as well, giving away just 24 runs from his four overs.
Kane the leader
Captain Kane Williamson was left with it all to do. He hardly got any support from the rest of the line-up, with the exception of Shankar, and it was because of his 43-ball 70 that Sunrisers managed a respectable total of 175-7.
The Kiwi kept the madness for the final over – bowled by Umesh Yadav – to really twist the knife into RCB. The first four balls were deposited for two fours and as many sixes. More pain was in store as umpire Nigel Llong mistakenly called the fifth ball a no-ball. The extra ball was hit for a four as 28 runs came from the final over.
Bhuvi swings it before Hetmyer blitz
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the master of extracting every bit of movement out of a pitch. He was on top of his game on Saturday, getting Parthiv Patel’s leading edge to point and then snaring AB de Villiers with an away swinger to slip. Captain Virat Kohli fell to left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed at the other end as RCB were staring down the barrel at 20-3.
Caribbean southpaw Hetmyer came into the tournament as the one of the more expensive buys at half a million dollars. But he had to be benched after a disastrous start. More than one month after playing his previous game, Hetmyer got a look in again and he seemed a different player without the pressure of expectations or playoff qualification.
While he wasn’t the smoothest batsman out there, Hetmyer showed glimpses of why Bangalore had invested in him. The left-handed dasher added 144 runs for the fourth wicket with Gurkeerat which took Bangalore to the brink of victory.
Hetmyer’s innings should have ended soon after he had reached fifty, with Yusuf Pathan dropping a dolly at point.
Bangalore slipped at the end but recovered thanks to pacer Umesh who made up for his horror bowling effort by hitting two fours in the final over to seal the win.