All said and done, despite all the hue and cry, Mumbai Indians are placed fifth on the points table. If they win their remaining 5 games, they will make it to the play-offs, as simple as that.
But of course, it is never so simple. Mumbai Indians are up against a very good Kolkata Knight Riders team. KKR struggled a bit early in IPL 2018 but have recovered in a big way since then. They now have a very good team and a very settled combination for both batting and bowling.
We would suggest that the addition of Shivam Mavi to the team instead of Vinay Kumar made all the difference. Vinay Kumar is a perfect example of a mediocre cricketer who gets big contracts in the IPL because of lack of options. He is just a medium pacer with no pace, no swing, who cannot take wickets and cannot stop the runs – a bit like Jaydev Unadkat, perhaps.
Shivam Mavi, all of 19 years of age, is already talked about as the future of Indian cricket. The young man does everything that Vinay Kumar cannot – he bowls fast, takes wickets and is always a threat to batsmen. Sure, he has gone for runs, but he will learn.
Most importantly, he has something that is worth its weight in gold – pace. Pace is very hard to come by and very few Indian fast bowlers have it. Shivam is one, Avesh Khan is another, and of course, Umesh Yadav.
We expect this to be an exciting clash because Mumbai will go all out for a win. They have nothing to lose now and will want to make a statement. KKR start as favorites and will fight back.
Mumbai are a good team, but they should do something about their top 4. The likes of Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis have so far collected 7 ducks! Not good. The Pandya brothers have to step up as well.
Prediction: KKR start as favorites, but we just have this hunch that Mumbai are going to edge this contest.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Suryakumar Yadav, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Rohit Sharma (capt), 5 JP Duminy , 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Ben Cutting, 9 Mitchell McClenaghan, 10 Mayank Markande, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Chris Lynn, 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Shubman Gill, 5 Nitish Rana/Rinku Singh, 6 Dinesh Karthik (capt & wk), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Shivam Mavi, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Mitchell Johnson/Tom Curran, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
Watch Mumbai Indians play Kolkata Knight Riders this evening at 4 pm Live on Star Sports!