IPL 2017 T20: In-form Kolkata Knight Riders aim to breach Mumbai Indians’ den

Kolkata Knight Riders, on a high after their 10-wicket win over Gujarat Lions in their opening clash, face Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday in a battle of former champions.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 09, 2017 01:44 IST
Harit N Joshi
Harit N Joshi
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2017,Kolkata Knight Riders,Mumbai Indians
Kolkata Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis and captain Gautam Gambhir during their team's practice session ahead of their IPL encounter against Mumbai Indians.(PTI)

After kick-starting their Indian Premier League season by completely dominating Gujarat Lions in their opening clash at Rajkot, Kolkata Knight Riders’ next target would be to breach Mumbai Indians’ fortress at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

This is the best chance for the Gautam Gambhir-led KKR to register their second win at Wankhede after Mumbai Indians suffered a demoralising defeat in the opening game against Rising Pune Supergiant on Thursday at Pune.

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In the previous nine IPL editions, KKR have managed to win just one match in Mumbai Indians’ den, in 2012. Post that victory, Shah Rukh Khan, the KKR co-owner, was allegedly involved in an altercation with a security guard at the Wankhede.

Mumbai Indians may have struggled to get their combination right in the first game, but Rohit Sharma & Co look a different team when they play on home turf.

In 2013 when Mumbai Indians won their maiden IPL title, Rohit Sharma’s side remained unbeaten in all the eight games played at Wankhede. Their unbeaten streak at Wankhede extended to a record 10 matches.

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Even during their magnificent turnaround in IPL 2015, where they emerged triumphant despite losing five of their first six matches, Mumbai Indians won six out of their eight home matches.

Mumbai Indians would also be buoyed by the return of pace ace Lasith Malinga for the KKR match. The Sri Lankan toe-crusher is coming into the match after claiming a hat-trick against Bangladesh.

Malinga will further strengthen the pace department that has Jasprit Bumrah and New Zealand’s Tim Southee.

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The only concern for Mumbai Indians would be their catching. MI dropped three regulation catches in their opening match in Pune, which included two off RPS captain Steven Smith, who went on to slam an unbeaten, match-winning 84.

KKR crushed Gujarat Lions by 10 wickets on Friday night with skipper Gautam Gambhir (76no) and Aussie Chris Lynn (93 no) raising an unbeaten 184-run opening partnership to achieve the target with 5.1 overs left.

Mumbai Indians though boast a 13-5 win-loss record against KKR.

First Published: Apr 08, 2017 19:04 IST