Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
The irrepressible Brad Hogg will hope for another good night © BCCI
The first two matches of IPL 2016 were won by similarly large margins – nine wickets in hand and 30-odd balls to spare. The first game featured Mumbai Indians, at the Wankhede Stadium. The second had Kolkata Knight Riders playing at Eden Gardens. While Knight Riders found themselves on the right side of the result, Mumbai suffered a shocker at home against newcomers Rising Pune Supergiants.
Mumbai will take the field at Eden Gardens hoping to bounce back in a hurry. They will want to break their recent habit of losing their first several matches of the season; Mumbai lost their first four games last year, and their first five in 2014 . After their horror show against Supergiants, they would perhaps do best to hit the mental reset button and start afresh.
Knight Riders would be pretty pleased with the current state of affairs. Their big win against Delhi Daredevils gave them a handy head-start on the net run-rate front. An excellent all-round effort from their bowlers was followed by a solid showing by their top three batsmen. Their strong spin-bowling department is perfectly suited to the pitches on offer at Eden Gardens. Come Wednesday, Knight Riders will be confident of improving their 5-11 record against Mumbai.
In the spotlight
As an overseas spinner, Brad Hogg is in direct competition with Sunil Narine for a spot in Knight Riders’ best XI. With Narine getting back to India only on Tuesday night, he is unlikely to play on Wednesday, making Hogg a certain starter for the Mumbai game. If Hogg can follow up his fine showing against Daredevils with more of the same against Mumbai, Knight Riders may have to seriously consider accommodating both in the team going forward.
Hardik Pandya‘s stock has risen substantially over the past few months, as an India debut in January was followed by some good performances in the Asia Cup and World T20. However, he still has some distance to go if he is to prove his worth as a genuine allrounder, as opposed to a bit-part player capable of flashes of brilliance. After a tame performance in the IPL opener, he will want to make a greater impact this time around.
Knight Riders have no compelling reason to change the XI that stormed to victory against Daredevils.
Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): 1 Robin Uthappa (wk), 2 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Colin Munro, 5 Suryakumar Yadav, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 John Hastings, 10 Brad Hogg, 11 Umesh Yadav
Mumbai are unlikely to make knee-jerk changes, but, judging by their practice session, Parthiv Patel may get a game. Vinay Kumar could be the one to miss out, meaning a longer batting line-up at the expense of a bowler. Lendl Simmons is likely to be rested for Corey Anderson, while Nitish Rana could also make the final XI.
Mumbai Indians (probable): 1 Parthiv Patel, 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Lendl Simmons/Corey Anderson, 4 Jos Buttler (wk), 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Shreyas Gopal, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Mitchell McClenaghan, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Pitch and conditions
Eden Gardens is likely to offer another spinner-friendly track to suit Knight Riders’ attack. It is a big ground by Indian standards, another factor working in favour of spin. Dew is likely to come into play as the night wears on, so fielding first would be the way to go.
Stats and trivia
- Rohit Sharma scored 98* and 50 in his last two IPL innings at Eden Gardens
- KKR has lost just once in last 13 IPL games at Eden Gardens
“We put pressure on each other with the ball. It is a competitive and respectful competition between us.”
Brad Hogg on playing in the same team as Sunil Narine
Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo