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IPL: In-form KKR challenge Mumbai Indians at home

IANS logoIANS 08-04-2017

KKR cantered to a 10-wicket win against Gujarat Lions on Friday night with Gautam Gambhir (76 not out) and Chris Lynn (93 not out) taking their rivals bowlers to the cleaners.

Chasing 184 to win, KKR reached the target with 31 balls to spare, underlining their title credentials from the word go.

Mumbai, on the other hand, failed to overcome the challenge from Rising Pune Supergiant in their opening game, losing by seven wickets as Pune skipper Steve Smith stamped his class with a brilliant unbeaten 84 to guide his team to victory.

In the head to head count, Mumbai clearly have the upper hand with 13 wins in 18 ties to KKR's five.

At the Wankhede, KKR have won just once, when they prevailed by 32 runs in 2012.

Mumbai would be desperate to get back the services of Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga who took a hattrick in the second T20 against Bangladesh recently, his first in the shortest format of the game.

Malinga, who is the all time highest wicket taker in the IPL with 143 scalps to his name, has three hattricks in One Day Internationals.

With Tim Southee, Hardik Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah trying hard in the last game to get more wickets -- Mumbai could just send three of the Pune batsmen in the dressing room -- Malinga's addition would surely add teeth to their bowling line-up.

KKR meanwhile, according to skipper Gambhir, fared well in their bowling department by restricting a top-heavy batting of Gujarat to 183 on a wicket that offered little assistance.

Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the bowlers, taking two wickets and conceding just 25 runs in his four overs.

But it was KKR's batting that left everyone talking. Not losing a wicket and clobbering the Gujarat bowlers with disdain, Lynn and Gambhir showed imperial form, one that will give them a lot of confidence going into the next game.

The pair broke IPL's record of highest first wicket partnership previously held by Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan (167) for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors.

Batting first in their opening game, Mumbai did not have any batsman getting past 40 runs with England opener Jos Buttler the highest scorer for the team at 38. Skipper Rohit Sharma would look to get back in form after an injury layoff, managing just three in the last game.

It remains to be seen whether KKR take off from where they left in the last game or Mumbai put a spanner in their works.

Likely XI:

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Jos Buttler, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nitish Rana, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.

KOlkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Woakes, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, Trent Boult.

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