Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders: 5 key battles which could decide match

Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders will face off in Qualifier 2 of the 2017 Indian Premier League on Friday, with the winner set to book a berth in Sunday’s final against Rising Pune Supergiant

ipl 2017 Updated: May 18, 2017 19:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
IPL 2017,Mumbai Indians,Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir (L) has been in superb form in IPL 2017, and his duel with Jasprit Bumrah in Friday’s Qualifier 2 could be key in how the match shapes up.(HT Photo/Agencies)

With a place in the final of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) on offer in Friday’s Qualifier 2 clash between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, HT takes a look at five key player battles which could decide the fate of the match.

Gautam Gambhir vs Jasprit Bumrah

Gautam Gambhir will be high on confidence after the performance against Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was a game in which he could do no wrong. After handling his bowlers brilliantly, he took his chances to power his team past the finishing line. He was severe on any width, paying special attention to the pacers. Jasprit Bumrah is Mumbai Indians’ captain Rohit Sharma’s go-to bowler and he will again be banking on the pacer to put the shackles on KKR’s key batsman, Gambhir.

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Rohit Sharma vs Sunil Narine

Rohit Sharma (L) and Sunil Narine will both be key to the two teams’ chances. (HT Photo/Agencies)

Rohit has not been at his best this season, but he has always been the key wicket for any opposition. He has a good record against KKR and his team will need him to be at his best in the crunch game. The Mumbai Indians captain has been uncharacteristically vulnerable against spinners this season and KKR will be looking to test him with their main tweaker, Sunil Narine. Even bowling with limited variety, Narine has been effective and it will be a battle to watch out for.

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Umesh Yadav vs Parthiv Patel

Umesh Yadav (L) and Parthiv Patel are likely to face off, given that they open their team’s bowling and batting attacks, respectively. (HT Photo/Agencies)

It will be an interesting contest as both are in form and will look to set a platform for their sides early on. While Parthiv, whose half-century went in vain against Rising Pune Supergiant on Tuesday, is the leading run-getter for Mumbai Indians, Umesh has been in stellar form, running through opposition line-ups. He had an impressive outing in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, strangling the explosive opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner during powerplay.

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Chris Lynn vs Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga’s (L) face-off against Chris Lynn could be key in the opening exchanges during KKR’s innings. (HT Photo/Agencies)

Although Malinga has been a shadow of himself this season, few can match his firepower at the death. His toe-crushing yorkers and slow bouncers keep batsmen in check during the powerplay overs as well, which is when Lynn gets into the groove and begins hitting bowlers into the stands at will. On Friday, the winner of this clash might actually lead his side to victory.

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Kieron Pollard vs Kuldeep Yadav/Piyush Chawla

Kieron Pollard (R) will be aware of the threats posed by KKR spinners. (HT Photo/Agencies)

With the riches Kolkata Knight Riders have in their spin department, it’s not sure if both Kuldeep and Piyush will don the jersey in the crunch game, but Pollard has to ensure he gets in early. He usually comes lower down the order, the period where Gambhir throws the ball to his spinners to dry up runs and chip in with vital wickets. Although Mumbai Indians have won both their matches against Kolkata Knight Riders this season, Pollard will be aware of the threat KKR’s spinners pose.

First Published: May 18, 2017 19:26 IST