IPL 2020: Kolkata aim for early inroads against Mumbai

KOLKATA: It’s deja vu for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as they open their IPL-13 campaign against Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The last time IPL was played in the UAE, KKR got the better of MI in their opening encounter at the same venue in 2014.
The Dinesh Karthik-led side will look for an encore against Mumbai, who have extended their losing streak in the opening matches of an IPL season with a defeat to Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
MI are known to be slow-starters as they have lost their last eight IPL opening matches since 2013. So more than Saturday’s defeat, it’s the rustiness of many of their boys that should keep the MI team management a little worried.
KKR too will not allow their rivals to settle down as skipper Karthik said “it’s nice to play them early in the tournament” during a pre-match press conference.
Getting into real action after a long hiatus, MI big guns like skipper Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya failed to get their timing right and Jasprit Bumrah looked a pale shadow of himself. With Bumrah going for 43 runs in his four overs, MI would be having a Plan B ready against a side that features Andre Russell, who alone can tear apart any attack.
However, the Mumbai outfit will draw their confidence from the head-to-head record against KKR, which reads 19-6 in their favour.
Ahead of their first match, KKR, on the other hand, should be boosted by the fact that all their likely four foreigners are coming with matches under their belts. While West Indians Sunil Narine and Russell have put up decent shows in the Caribbean Premier League, England batsman Eoin Morgan and Aussie pacer Pat Cummins have played in the white-ball series in England.
The curators have kept a fair bit of grass on the wickets at all the three venues so that they last the whole tournament under extreme hot conditions. The MI batting will thus have a job at hand in handling the express KKR pace battalion.

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