Laggards Mumbai Indians take on beleaguered Kolkata Knight Riders

MUMBAI: Buoyed by two successive wins against Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans, five-time winners Mumbai Indians will hope to notch up their third win on the trot in IPL 2022 when they lock horns with a beleaguered Kolkata Knight Riders, who are coming off a 75-run thrashing at the hands of Lucknow Super Giants in Pune, at the DY Patil Stadium on Monday night.

In an unprecedented low, the Rohit Sharma-led team lost eight straight matches, before finally managing to atleast restore their pride to a little extent thanks to victories against Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans. Tim David’s re-induction in the team in the last two games he also chipped in with an unbeaten 9-ball 20 against the Royals at the DY Patil Stadium on April 30 has given MI the firepower they badly missed in the first eight games.

It also begs the question: just why was the 26-year-old, tall, strongly-built Singaporean, who possesses an average of 34.03 and a strike rate of 160.28 in T20 cricket, benched by MI after he was out for 12 & 1 in his first two games? And why has Kieron Pollard, who’s endured perhaps his worst year with MI just 129 runs in 10 games@14.33 been given an extended run despite struggling?

MI, and Team India, would also be pleased to see skipper Rohit and Kishan find some runs after an ordinary show which has hurt the team badly in the first eight games. Sharma’s poor form-just 198 runs in 10 games@19.80, in fact, was termed by coach Mahela Jayawardene as “disappointing,” while he also revealed he would have a “conversation” with Kishan, who has just 270 runs in 10 games@30.00.

While Sams has been a revelation in the bowling department, the poor form of Jasprit Bumrah must worry both MI and the Indian selectors. The Knight Riders, meanwhile, are only slightly better. They began the season by winning their first three matches, before losing five games in a row-six in their last seven actually. Languishing at No 8, they need to win their remaining three games and then hope for a miracle to qualify for the playoffs.