IPL 2022: Winless Mumbai Indians face uphill task against KKR

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Pune: Mumbai Indians’ domestic bowlers will look to step up as they take on a buoyant Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL here on Wednesday, looking to turn things around after back-to-back defeats.
MI have so far looked like anything but IPL’s five-time champions, losing both their opening games first against Delhi Capitals by four wickets and then against a resurgent Rajasthan Royals by 23 runs.
And skipper Rohit Sharma will seek improvements on multiple fronts to effect a turnaround when they face KKR, who come into the game after beating Punjab Kings by six wickets.
For MI, pacer Basil Thampi and spinner Murugan Ashwin have proved to be weak-links as they yielded 73 runs in 3 overs during RR’s innings and the duo will need to produce a better show on Wednesday.
In fact, Australian seamer Daniel Sams too went for runs and remained wicketless in the last two matches.
The trio will have to quickly recover from their forgettable outing against RR and bowl in the right areas if they have to contain the KKR batters.
Jasprit Bumrah, with his three-for, however, showed why he is the best in the business, particularly at the death and MI would be hoping for another stellar show from him.
For a turn-around, Rohit himself will have to be at his brutal best and hammer his favourite opposition, against whom he has a formidable record.
Opener Ishan Kishan has been rock solid, smashing a brilliant 81 in the lung-opener followed by a gusty 54.
If Mumbai have to post score or chase a big total, which is likely at the MCA stadium in Gahunje, Rohit and Kishan would need to fire on all cylinders.
MI has badly missed the services of Suryakumar Yadav, who is known for playing many a match-winning knocks for the franchise.
Yadav has recovered from his finger injury but it remains to be seen whether he plays or not with Rohit remaining non-committal about his availability.
While the emergence of unheralded N Tilak Verma, who smashed 61 off 33 balls to take MI to 81 in 8 overs against RR, was a big positive, the team still couldn’t chase down a total of 193.
And the likes of Anmolpreet Singh, Tim David and West Indian Kieron Pollard will need to shoulder responsibility.
While Singh scored in single digits, David too didn’t look comfortable on Indian tracks and it needs to be seen if MI brings in South Africa’s U-19 star Dewald Brevis, known as ‘Baby AB’.
For Kolkata, the biggest asset is star all-rounder Andre Russell coming back to form. His six-hitting prowess was on display against Punjab Kings and he would be keen to continue from where he left.
But their top-order, comprising Ajinkya Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer, faltered against Punjab and the duo would want to give the side a good start.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer has been getting starts, but a big score is due. Ditto for Sam Billings. Nitish Rana too has been far from his best and needs to go all guns blazing.
KKR pacer Umesh Yadav has been impressive and could pose a potential threat to MI batters but he would need support from Tim Southee and Shivam Mavi, while the eight overs from Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine can change the match situation.
Mumbai have won 22 times against KKR, while KKR has been victorious only seven times, and they would want to add a win to their tally.