MI vs KKR: Knight Riders outplayed by dominant MI
The 32nd match of the IPL 2020 took place between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians at Abu Dhabi and once again Rohit Sharma’s men stamped their dominance over the men in purple and extended their already lopsided head-to-head record to 21-6 in MI’s favor. #1 Same old scenes The new captain for the KKR Eoin Morgan won his first toss and opted to bat first as expected. But what was not expected is the carnage of dismissals of the KKR’s top order. It was a repeat of the collapse they had the other night against RCB. Boult drew the first blood by dismissing Tripathi courtesy of a stunning catch by Suryakumar Yadav. Then Coulter-Nile who was playing his first game for MI this season dismissed Rana cheaply. The wrecker in chief for the day was Rahul Chahar who exploited the slow conditions on offer and dismissed the inform Shubman Gill. #2 Karthik, still clueless Dinesh Karthik had relinquished his captaincy duties earlier in the day to concentrate more on his batting from hereon. But it was no different today and he was dismissed for a paltry score by a beautiful delivery from Chahar. The ever-improving Bumrah set up the out of form Russell brilliantly and showed him the way to the pavilion. Half of the KKR team was in the dugout by the 11th over with the new captain stranded in the middle. #3 Billion-dollar rescue In came Pat Cummins, the highest-paid players in this year’s tournament. Having enjoyed a mixed season with the ball, he started whacking the bowlers to all corners of the ground. Along with Morgan, they stitched a crucial partnership to take the KKR scoreboard to a respective total who were otherwise staring at a score below 100. Striking at the rate of 147 Cummins brought up his fifty in the process, and so did Coulter-Nile with the ball for MI. #4 Magnificent QDK Quinton de Kock continued his fine form with the bat against KKR as well. He was utilizing the powerplay to the fullest, even when the Hitman was struggling to get going at the other end. It looked like QDK was batting on a completely different pitch altogether where the other batsmen struggled to find the right timing. Propelling MI off to a flying start, he brought up his 3rd fifty of the season. There was no looking back for MI from then. Helped by a little cameo from Hardik, he led MI to an impressive 8 wicket victory staying unbeaten on 78. #5 Leadership change All the talk going into the match was about the change in captaincy for KKR. One cannot argue that it was the need of the hour as the team has been already facing many issues and the captaincy change was the last thing they would have wanted. It may propel the team forward or create disharmony in the team and backfire. Only time will tell if this is the right decision or not, going forward. Still, Morgan being a WC winning captain, one can believe that he has it in him to take the KKR to the IPL glory, so does the KKR team management. #6 The Narine factor Also, KKR is missing Narine for his pinch-hitting role in the batting and his 4 overs of spin which are like gold dust given the present slow conditions on offer in UAE. The only other shining light on the day was the performance of the youngsters Varun Chakravarthy and Shivam Mavi. But they need their big guns Karthik, Russell, and Cummins to fire consistently to seal the spot in the playoffs. And the competition is also heating up in the bottom half of the points table with the gaps between the teams narrowing as the days pass by. #7 Champions for a reason Coming to Mumbai Indians, they are sitting pretty at the top of the table. With no injury concerns and a well-settled line-up, they are miles apart from other teams in terms of stability and the team balance, and on current form, they are looking like the team to beat. The defending champions are proving to be serious contenders for the title this season and hopefully break their jinx of not winning the title in an even year. With KKR losing steam in their last two encounters and CSK and KXIP picking up wins in their respective previous games, the tournament is still alive and kicking with all teams in contention for the playoff spots. Hopefully, the next few weeks will deliver high intense action of cricket on the field. Cheers!