The Knights gave another display of their fighting spirit in the last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Friday. Chasing 228 to win, the Knights despite losing early wickets kept fighting till the final overs courtesy another excellent showing from the middle order. The fighting spirit the boys have shown with their backs against the wall, is reminiscent of the KKR sides who won the title in 2012 and 2014.
Our opponents haven’t had the best of starts, losing their first 2 games but have recovered from their early struggles to beat Delhi Capitals in their last outing, while the Knights have 2 victories and 2 losses so far in this edition of the IPL.
Skipper Rana and the Knights think tank will be buoyed by the ‘never say die’ attitude of the boys so far this season with the team finding ways to get back into matches and win them from improbable situations. Rana will particularly be happy with his personal exploits with the bat in the last couple of matches and Rinku Singh’s rise as an explosive middle order option. The game on Sunday will be a day affair at the Wankhede and the pitch is expected to assist the batters with the ball coming onto the bat at a nice height and pace. The hot and humid conditions also mean that the pitch should hold up well through the game which hints at another high scoring affair. The KKR fast bowlers will have had time to review their performances from the previous games and will look forward to bowling at the Wankhede which tends to offer pacers something to work with.
The Knights have prevailed against the Mumbai Indians in each of their previous 3 encounters and this should give them a lot of confidence going into this fixture. The last time the two sides faced each other, KKR emerged victorious by 52 runs. The Knights scored 165 batting first and then bundled out Mumbai for just 113 runs in what was one of the most memorable bowling performances by KKR.
Among the batsmen, former Knights Skipper Gautam Gambhir has the most runs against the Mumbai Indians scoring 349 runs. With 23 wickets, Sunil Narine leads the pack as the most successful bowler in the fixture. Venkatesh Iyer who has featured against the Mumbai Indians thrice so far has an exceptional record against the hosts. In 2021, in the IPL’s UAE leg, Venkatesh Iyer powered us to a 7 wicket win, scoring 53 of 40 balls. He followed that performance with scores of 50 and 43 last season, which ensured two more victories for the Knights. Venkatesh, a crucial component of our top order, has looked good this season and will be a key player heading into Sunday’s match.
A capacity crowd is expected to turn up for one of the most anticipated clashes in the IPL today and the Knights will be hoping to get one over the hosts to maintain their position in the top half of the table.