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Intriguing battles in crucial clash

The last time the two sides met the Mumbai Indians lost by a margin of six runs in one of the more gripping encounters of the IPL

Nagraj Gollapudi

Match facts

Friday, May 16, 2008
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)

Will Sanath Jayasuriya be able to free his arms against Shoaib Akhtar and Ishant Sharma? (file photo) © Getty Images

The Big Picture

If the marquee names play to form this could be an intense contest. The key battle will be between the Kolkata Knight Riders' new-ball pair of Shoaib Akhtar and Ishant Sharma and the Mumbai Indians' opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya - sheer pace and movement against mammoth experience.
Shoaib remains the key after making a resounding Indian Premier League (IPL) debut. Bowling at optimum pace, he demolished the Delhi Daredevils, though he was helped by a couple of Delhi batsmen who decided to match him with aggression rather than remain patient. But Tendulkar and Jayasuriya have faced him often enough in others forms of the game, and at times tamed him with their repertoire of shots.
Mumbai are likely to zero in on Kolkata's weakness - batting. Sourav Ganguly and David Hussey are the only Kolkata batsmen to come to grips with building and finishing an innings. The absence of a quality opener like Brad Hodge is a further headache for Ganguly, who prefers opening to coming down the order. But he has had to adjust and adopt a safety-first policy.
If Mumbai win, it will be their fifth in a row, giving them further confidence in their bid for a semi-final spot. Their streak started at Eden Gardens and Kolkata, on a winning run themselves, will be looking for revenge after being humbled by Shaun Pollock and Jayasuriya with the ball in that match. As both captains agreed, it will be a "close contest".

Tournament position

Mumbai Indians: P8, W4, L4, NRR -0.056
Kolkata Knight Riders: P9, W5, L4, NRR +0.619

Form (last five matches, most recent first)

Mumbai Indians: WWWWL
Kolkata Knight Riders: WWWLL

Watch out for ...

  • Shoaib and Ishant against Jayasuriya and Tendulkar. If a pumped-up Shoaib presses on the accelerator to gain maximum speed, the wiry Ishant will test the batsmen with his bounce and movement. Tendulkar said he never "entertained" the argument that Twenty20 is a young man's game but it will be a true test of reflexes for Mumbai's experienced duo.
  • Sourav Ganguly. Despite a partisan Mumbai crowd, 'dada' (as Ganguly is widely known) still has his own bunch of die-hards everywhere he goes. He might have been slow off the Twenty20 blocks but he has caught up in recent games, scoring a 57-ball 91 in the away game against the Deccan Chargers.
  • Shahrukh Khan, owner of the Kolkata franchise. Eden Gardens might have become his second home but Mumbai will always remain first love for the Bollywood superstar, who will be out once again egging on Kolkata.

  • How will Mumbai react to seeing Sourav Ganguly and Shahrukh Khan in the opposition camp? (file photo) © AFP

    Team news

    Mumbai would hate to disrupt their winning rhythm so they might stick to the same XI that beat the Chennai Super Kings.
    Mumbai Indians (probable): 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Dominic Thornely, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Shaun Pollock, 7 Abhishek Nayar, 8 Yogesh Takawale (wk), 9 Dhawal Kulkarni, 10 Rohan Raje, 11 Ashish Nehra.
    Despite opener Aakash Chopra's trouble adapting to the Twenty20 format, Ganguly said it was not a matter of concern as the team had won three matches in a row. Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez might get the nod for his all-round skills ahead of Tatenda Taibu and Mumbai local Iqbal Abdulla might make way for fellow left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who has some fond memories of the Wankhede, including his match-winning 6 for 27 in the final game of the ODI series against Australia last year.
    Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): 1 Salman Butt, 2 Aakash Chopra, 3 1 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Mohammad Hafeez, 6 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 Shoaib Akhtar, 9 Ishant Sharma 10 Murali Kartik 11 Ashok Dinda.

    Stats and trivia

  • Kolkata have conceded the most number of extras in the tournament - 120 from nine matches.
  • Shaun Pollock is the only Mumbai bowler with an economy-rate under 7.25.
  • Shoaib bowled just nine balls in the nets on the eve of his IPL debut, against Delhi. On Thursday he bowled four.
  • Quotes

    "Both Shoaib and Ishant are quality bowlers. That doesn't mean we don't have quality batsmen. It's just not one mini-contest. It's the 40 overs we need to be on top of. I know it will be a close match."
    Sachin Tendulkar states the importance of the clash against Kolkata.
    "Get Sachin, get Jayasuriya, get Robin [Uthappa] and finish with a five-for."
    Sourav Ganguly's message to his premier bowler.

    Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo