Mumbai Indians, the team on the trot that came to a halt against the batting might of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, face a virtual make or break situation when they take on the defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in Thursday’s IPL match.
Sunday’s loss to RCB, after a superb five-game winning streak, came to end at the wrong time with. But MI would be seeking inspiration from their overall 10-5 win-loss record against KKR who, however, won their previous season-opening clash on April 8 by seven wickets.
MI would have loved to go into the tough battle with their tails up instead of licking their wounds inflicted by the brutal assault on their bowling attack by A B de Villiers who smashed 133 not out off just 59 balls.
Having just 12 points in their kitty with Thursday’s last home game at the Wankhede Stadium, followed by their concluding away match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 17 in hand, MI have very little margin of error to play with.
MI need to pull up their socks and put behind the humiliating 39-run loss to RCB in their home bastion when they take on the formidable Knight Riders who go into the game placed second on the table.
On the other hand a victory would help the Kolkata franchise to bounce back into the pole position currently occupied by the Chennai Super Kings, and would also make it 2 out of 2 in their clashes with MI this season.
MI’s bowlers were given a hiding by De Villiers and RCB skipper Virat Kohli. With Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya both having conceded over 50 runs, one of them is bound to be replaced, if not both.
R Vinay Kumar has been in and out of the playing XI like the wayward Bumrah but, strangely, MI have not given a single chance to the experienced Karnataka pacer Abhimanyu Mithun so far.
The only bright spot in MI’s bowling effort against RCB, on a fantastic batting strip, was by Lasith Malinga. They would be hoping that their spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Jagadeesha Suchith – who too were punished by de Villiers and Kolhi – come back stronger.
In batting, MI should be pleased with the consistent form shown by opener Lendl Simmons who top scored with 68 in the unsuccessful chase of the huge target of 236 against RCB after plucking a great catch to send back Chris Gayle.