Over time, Mumbai Indians have made it a habit. Starting slowly, before revving up as mid-season approaches and then pouncing on teams at the back end. They have started poorly this time as well, but the margin for error could be smaller in a 10-team pool. Therefore, they need to get up and running quickly. There’s just one problem. They’re going up against IPL 2021’s runners-up Kolkata Knight Riders, whose firebrand approach to batting, has lent a dazzling touch to the season so far.
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Cummins has completed his mandatory three-day quarantine upon arrival and even trained with the team on match eve, which means he is all set to take Sam Billings’ place in the Knight Riders XI. This means the wicketkeeper’s slot will be taken up once again by Sheldon Jackson, whose glovework has been impressive. Sunil Narine, Russell, and Tim Southee are likely to take up the other overseas slots.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav/Anmolpreet Singh, 4 Tilak Varma, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Tim David, 7 Daniel Sams, 8 M Ashwin, 9 Tymal Mills, 10 Jaydev Unadkat/Basil Thampi, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Venkatesh Iyer, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Nitish Rana, 5 Sheldon Jackson, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Sunil Narine, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Varun Chakravarthy
Cummins vs Kishan: three innings, five balls, three wickets. Rohit vs Narine: 18 innings, seven dismissals, average 19.6. How can anyone ignore stats like that? The Knight Riders just have to open with Cummins and Narine to try and take on Mumbai’s in-form batters. More so because Rohit, who has started this IPL differently – striking at 147 off his first 10 balls, will immediately be face-to-face with the bowler who has dismissed him the most times in the IPL.
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Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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