IPL 2021: Match 34 – Strongest Mumbai Indians (MI) Predicted Playing XI against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
With games running thick and fast, Mumbai come up against a team they have perennially dominated in the tournament.
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That the Mumbai Indians are slow starters is an indisputable fact. But they are also slow restarters is what most discovered when they went down by 20 runs against arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings in the season-resuming encounter on September 19.
In their defence, Mumbai were not being led by their inspirational skipper Rohit Sharma, who sat out due to a dodgy knee, and Hardik Pandya missed out too due to a niggle. While there are no questions on either the experience or captaining potential of Kieron Pollard, who filled in for Rohit on the given day, Mumbai just could not manage to nail a target they are expected to chase nine days out of ten without breaking a sweat.
With games running thick and fast, they come up against a team they have dominated in the tournament since time immemorial. Alright, exaggeration aside, since 2008. Mumbai unreally dominates the IPL head-to-head record against Kolkata: 22-6. What better opportunity, then, to get back to winning ways, if not against Morgan’s men?
Predicted Playing XI of Mumbai Indians (MI) for IPL 2021 Match 34:
Openers – Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock
Having missed out on the previous encounter as a “precautionary measure”, Rohit Sharma is most likely to be back against the Knight Riders. In the tournament so far, that is to say, the Indian leg, Rohit top-scored for his team and, more crucially, scored runs at a venue – Chennai – where nearly each of his counterparts struggled. He has scored 250 runs at a strike rate of 128.40 this season.
In Rohit’s absence, Quinton de Kock partnered with Anmolpreet Singh, but neither of the two could manage to convert their start, with de Kock scoring a 12-ball 17. With his regular opening partner back in the mix, de Kock would be eager to take Mumbai off to flyers as he did on a couple of occasions earlier this year.
Middle-order – Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Saurabh Tiwary
The performance trend of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan did not change, with both of them getting dismissed cheaply against CSK. During the entire first leg, Yadav made aggressive starts before throwing his wicket. The outing on September 19 was worse for he did not make even a start and walked back with 3 off 7.
Kishan, who was dropped during the first leg owing to his decreasing returns, could not make his case strong either, having got 11 off 10. On the other side, Saurabh Tiwary did manage to stay in the middle for much longer than any of his teammates, but his 50 off 40 did little to help his team’s cause in a 157-chase. Despite that, given he was the lone fighter for Mumbai on the day, he is likely to hold his position alongside Kishan and Yadav.
All-rounders – Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya
After a blinder of a knock against CSK at Delhi earlier this year, when he helped his team chase 219, Kieron Pollard was where Mumbai’s hopes lied on September 19 after they lost wickets in heaps and got the chase derailed. However, Pollard was far from his best in the encounter, scoring just 15 off 14, while he bowled a wicketless two-over spell for 15 runs.
Much like Pollard, Krunal had an outing with nothing rememberable too, managing just 4 with the bat, after leaking 27 in 2 overs with the ball. The misfiring all-rounder trio has been one of the major reasons behind Mumbai’s unimposing season thus far. While Hardik Pandya remains an unsure starter on Thursday, some contributions from the all-rounders would not hurt Mumbai.
Bowlers – Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar
Continuing his top form from The Hundred where Adam Milne ended as the leading wicket-taker (12 in eight innings), he posed difficult questions with the new ball before ending with 2 wickets at an economy of 5.25 against CSK. Notably, Milne was also the only bowler to have a tournament economy rate below 6 in The Hundred.
He was well-complimented by Trent Boult, who ripped the CSK top-order with the new ball, and Jasprit Bumrah, who both scalped two wickets each but were not at their economical best, leaking runs over 8.
While Mumbai Indians might be prompted to include off-spinner Jayant Yadav due to a few left-handers in the Kolkata side, Rahul Chahar has done no wrong to be benched. Against CSK, he did not get success in terms of wickets, but he dried up the runs, giving just 22 in his quota.