After a five-day wait, Dinesh Karthik’s Kolkata Knight Riders will open their IPL 2020 proceedings with a heavyweight clash against Mumbai Indians at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. While KKR will be hoping to start IPL 2020 on a winning note, MI will look to score their first win in UAE.
Mumbai Indians - L W W W W
Mumbai Indians’ overall form guide - which includes wins from last season - might look pretty to the eye, but the UAE factor is bound to change the landscape of all their games. The defending champs have, thus far, lost each of their 6 games played in the Middle-East and the trend continued in the season-opener versus CSK last week, where they were convincingly beaten by MS Dhoni’s men. Barring a few overs and a bright sparks here and there, the defending champions were sloppy in their first encounter and will need to iron out their flaws in order to overcome a strong KKR side.
Kolkata Knight Riders - L W W L L
Two of KKR’s last 3 IPL games have been against Mumbai but it can be said that the side that will take the field on Wednesday will be the strongest of the lot. All eyes will be on their new, costly purchases Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan, and with both players failing to make an impact in the England-Australia series that preceded the IPL, skipper DK will be hoping for a quick turnaround from his brand new recruits. Having had almost a week to assess conditions, the two-time champions will definitely fancy their chances versus a Mumbai side seemingly low on fitness and confidence.
Mumbai - Quinton de Kock
Despite Saurabh Tiwary top-scoring in the first encounter, Quinton de Kock, by and large, looked the most assured and in-form Mumbai player against CSK. In his sparkling 20-ball-33, de Kock blazed the bowlers all over the park and looked set to post a big score before holing out against the run of play, off the bowling of Sam Curran. The 27-year-old amassed over 500 runs last season and if the little time he spent in the first game is any evidence to go by, then there's every reason he might replicate the feat yet again this season.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Shubman Gill
With Chris Lynn gone and with Sunil Narine’s fitness uncertain, Shubman Gill, the only stable force in KKR’s top order, will hold key to setting a platform for the big-hitters to take advantage of. Gill endured his breakthrough season in IPL 2019, scoring close to 300 runs at an average over 30 in the season, and it was incidentally a 76 against Mumbai he scored, while opening the batting, which asserted that he belongs to the highest level. The air of uncertainty over his batting position made things tough for the youngster last season, but with him set to open the batting this year, Gill might very well take his game to the next level.
Mumbai - Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah is, in many ways, the heartbeat of the Mumbai side and the defending champs crumbling versus CSK on the back of a bad performance from the pacer spoke volumes of how dependent they are on the 26-year-old. Aside from claiming 36 wickets across the last two seasons, the talismanic pacer has also maintained an economy rate below 7 and this could be vital heading into Wednesday’s clash versus KKR, where MI will be up against the biggest hitter in the world in the form of Andre Russell. Trust Bumrah to come up with the goods under pressure.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Sunil Narine
Fitness concerns aside, Sunil Narine, everytime he steps on the field, will always be KKR’s most important bowler. Full stop. Much is spoken about Narine’s ‘poor’ season in 2019, but even then, the Trinidadian ended the season as KKR’s second highest wicket-taker and their most economical bowler. CPL 2020 - where he finished with an economy rate of 4.55 - suggested that Narine has finally started to feel comfortable with his remodelled action and that could spell trouble for MI, who struggled to put away Piyush Chawla in their first game of the season.
Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Digvijay Deshmukh, Aditya Tare (wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Rahul Chahar, Chris Lynn, Hardik Pandya, Sherfane Rutherford, Anmolpreet Singh, Mohsin Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Prince Balwant Rai, Anukul Roy, Ishan Kishan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Trent Boult, Jayant Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson
Kolkata Knight Riders
Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Kuldeep Yadav, Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Nikhil Naik, Manimaran Siddharth, Andre Russell, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Rinku Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Chris Green, Rahul Tripathi
Mumbai: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, James Pattinson, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
Kolkata: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Tripathi, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
When to Watch: Sep 23, 7.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)