Dubai: A win for Mumbai Indians will virtually seal them a spot in the play-offs while a loss for KXIP could send them out of contention.
Mumbai Indians have steamrolled opposition teams with an explosive batting line-up complemented by a lethal bowling attack and the latest side to bear their brunt were the Kolkata Knight Riders who suffered an eight-wicket defeat on Friday.
In the bowling front, pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult have formed the most successful pair this IPL with 12 wickets apiece from eight matches so far. Spinner Rahul Chahar chipped in against KKR with two wickets for 18 runs.
On the other hand, KXIP are languishing at the bottom of the table despite having the top-two leading run-getters of the tournament in skipper K L Rahul (387 runs at a strike rate of 134.84) and his opening partner, Mayank Agarwal (337 runs).
KXIP’s problem has been that their batting and bowling have not fired in unison on most occasions even though their confidence has been boosted by the return of Gayle.
KKR are still in the top four of IPL points table behind Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore with four wins and as many defeats. But if the two-time champions want to seal a play-off spot, their batsmen need to step up, shrug off their inconsistencies and win matches for the team.
After a massive 82-run loss to RCB, the KKR batsmen failed yet again against MI bowlers as they were reduced to 42 for 4 in the eighth over. Half of KKR batsmen were gone for 61 in the 11th over. An 87-run unbroken stand for the sixth wicket between Morgan (39 not out) and pacer Pat Cummins (53 not out) took them to 148 for 5.