Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be commencing their Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) campaign on Wednesday against The Mumbai Indians, who suffered a loss in the tournament opener against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). KKR has shored up their batting and bowling for the current season as they had also enhanced the coaching staff with the addition of Brendon McCullum.
Between the teams, Mumbai Indians have been completely dominant over the Kolkata Knight Riders. Out of 25 meetings between the two teams, they have won 19, and KKR have won just six. However, the latter would take heart from the fact that they beat the Mumbai-based side the last time the teams met in the UAE, back in 2014.
As MI and KKR prepare to resume their rivalry in the desert, we take a look at three enticing player battles in the offing.
IPL 2020 KKR vs MI: Eoin Morgan vs Jasprit Bumrah
This is a battle of unconventional cricketers, if we may call it so. Despite his reputation as a T20 legend, England’s ODI skipper Eoin Morgan is yet to make a significant impact in the IPL. In 52 games so far, he has 854 runs to his name at a strike rate of 121.13.
All that could change this year, as Morgan enters the tournament having led England to World Cup glory last year. Apart from his inspirational leadership, he also sizzled with the bat, slamming a record 17 sixes in a game against Afghanistan.
Morgan can hit the balls at angles normal batsmen don’t even think of. His unique batting ability could turn out to be one of KKR’s USP.
IPL 2020 KKR vs MI: Andre Russel vs Hardi Pandya
West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell was the backbone of KKR’s batting outfit last year. He played some unbelievable knocks to pull Kolkata to victory from improbable positions.
Russell’s stunning numbers in 2019 reveal the kind of impact he had on the tournament — 510 runs in 249 balls at a strike rate of 204.81.
Had it not been for Russell last year, KKR’s fortunes could have been similar to RCB or RR as most of the other batsmen struggled. Russell would look to carry on from where he left off last year.
IPL 2020 KKR vs MI: Rohit Sharma vs Pat Cummins
One of the best limited-overs batsmen, Rohit Sharma will be facing IPL 2020’s highest paid foreigner- Australian pacer Pat Cummins.
The MI skipper could not do much with the bat in the tournament opener against CSK, and will be looking to make amends for that. On the other hand, Cummins who was bought for ₹15.5 crores by KKR for IPL 2020, will try and live up to his lofty repute.
Apart from being genuinely quick, Cummins will be playing the role of a wicket-taker. He claimed 99 wickets in international cricket in 2019. He last played the IPL in 2017, during which he picked up 17 scalps at a strike rate of 21.23. Pat Cummins will be looking forward to making an impact for sure.