Eoin Morgan is all set to make his first apperance as the KKR skipper when the Knights lock horns with defending champions Mumbai Indians in the return leg of Dream XI IPL 2020 in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Dinesh Karthik, in a recent devlopment, decided to hand over the reins to Morgan to focus on his batting. The World Cup winning captain's leadership skills have often been hailed and KKR are likely to benefit out of the decision as the battle gets intense.
Kolkata suffered a jolt against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last match and will be all too keen to get back to winning ways. They will also be looking to make amends for their first leg loss against the Mumbai outfit and maintain their stay in the top half of the points table. Currently KKR are placed 4th, while Mumbai are sitting at No. 2.
KKR would like to keep in mind the mistakes which plagued them en route to a 49-run loss against Mumbai in their opening match of the season. Over the last few weeks, Mumbai have gone from strength to strength and they will be entering Friday’s game on the back of four consecutive wins. Their top and middle order have found success and so have their bowlers.
Talking about KKR’s approach to deal with the in-form batsmen of Mumbai Indians that include the likes of Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav, Pat Cummins said, “We got to make amends for our first game of the year. They beat us; we didn’t play our best game. So, (it’s) another great chance to test us against the table-toppers. We need to bowl better than what we did in the first game.”
Cummins has mostly been used in the powerplay overs and didn’t get much of a chance to bowl in the death. The think tank has relied on the spinners and Andre Russell to offer the finishing touch instead. Speaking about his role in the side, the Aussie speedster said, “We got a great luxury in someone like Dre Russ who can come and bowl great death overs. Even the spinners have done really well in death bowling, which is really rare. We have got plenty of options for guys who can bowl whole way through the innings. So, I will bowl anywhere I am told to, I am happy!”
KKR’s bowling unit has done its job pretty efficiently so far, barring a few stray instances. However, it is the batting line-up that has often found some serious gaps to mend. In the game against RCB, the struggle amongst the batters was glaring. Tom Banton was given a chance to open with Shubman Gill while the man-in-form, Rahul Tripathi, was pushed down. Now, that KKR are a crucial juncture where any strategical error can push them out of the Top 4, it will be interesting to see what avenues Captain Morgan chooses to tackle the likes of Jaspreet Bumrah and Trent Boult.
The head-to-head battle between the two teams certainly tilts in favour of Mumbai who have won 20 out of the 26 meetings with KKR. On Friday, the Knights will need a huge win not only for the crucial 2 points but also to ensure their Net Run Rate improves in order to avoid any mid-table crisis going forward.
Having said that, we all know T20s are unpredictable and KKR have gone on to clinch two nerve-wracking wins against CSK and KXIP of late. “In those two games, we had no right to win but we still won. That’s a sign of a really good team and we feel we can win from any position,” Cummins said. Now, let’s hope Friday brings us some good tidings and we secure our 5th win of the tournament.
KKR take on MI at 7.30 PM in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Keep cheering and stay tuned on our social platforms for all the latest updates. Korbo, lorbo, jeetbo!