Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians
Wednesday 6 April, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Kolkata have two wins from three in a solid start. But they remain a curious, or rather confounding outfit. Their strength, and their weakness, appear to have been reversed.
Rightly touted as one of the most aggressive batting units in the tournament because of the high number of batters with strong boundary percentage ratings, they have been becalmed. In fact, downright underwhelming.
With the ball, however, they have been superb. They bowled out Punjab for 137, restricted Chennai to 131 and very nearly defended 128 against Banga-lore.
Pat Cummins should be available for game four. So this could be Tim Southee’s last game for a while.
Possible XI: Rahane, Venkatesh, Shreyas, Rana, Billings, Narine, Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi
Mumbai wait on Yadav
Mumbai Indians are keeping fingers crossed that Suryakumar Yadav has recovered sufficiently from a broken finger to return to the XI. He has finally joined up with the squad so it could be good news.
They need him. The batting has looked flaky in his absence and Anmolpreet Singh will step aside. Tilak Varma has at least made the Non 4 slot his own with a strong performance.
The bowling is a problem too with Daniel Sams and Basil Thampi eye-wateringly expensive. To reverse their 0-2 record Fabian Allen and Jayden Unadkat are possible replacements. That’s not brilliant depth and Indians may wonder whether splurging big on Jofra Archer is a strategy out of the England Test team playbook.
Possible XI: Rohit, Ishan, Yadav, Varma, Pollard, David, Sams, Murugan, Bumrah, Mills, Thampi
There have been two matches at Pune so far. Rajasthan made 210 against Sunrisers and Gujarat 171 against Delhi Capitals. The latter is probably more instructive to the nature of the surface because of Sunrisers’ expected shoddy performance this term.
The average score in the first-innings is a tick over 170. This brings into play Sportsbook’s 17/10 that both teams make 170. That could be a decent wager. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.
KKR eye spin chance
Kolkata v Mumbai is always something of a blockbuster, not that it’s been particularly competitive down the years. Mumbai have an extraordinary record on the head-to-head winning 12 of the last 14.
The match odds market is finding it hard to split the pair. Kolkata are marginal outsiders at 2.1011/10 with Mumbai 1.834/5.
KKR may well have an opening. Spin has been a big problem for them so far with Wanindu Hasa-ranga and Rahul Chahar running through them. Is Mumbai’s Murugan Ashwin in the same class? Possibly not. If KKR show intent – particularly against the leggie – they could be quids in. Bet the match odds here.
Shreyas Iyer has characterised KKR’s underwhelming batting performance. Shreyas came into the tournament off the back of outstanding performances for India but has returned only 59 runs in three innings.
Shreyas is a smidge of value on two-year win rate at 16/5 with Sportsbook for top KKR bat. What we like about him here, though, is his excellent record against Jasprit Bumrah (striking at 147 with only one out in his T20 career) and Thampi. He could go well.
With two wins in the last two Andre Russell (12/1 with Sportsbook) appears to be his biggest rival.
Ishan Kishan gives punters a 0.3% edge on win rate at 11/4 for top Mumbai. Rohit Sharma’s win rate is down to 22.2% so the boosted 13/5 is no good. Yadav is 7/2, which isn’t an edge either. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.