The last time the two sides faced off was in the IPL-7 opener in the United Arab Emirates, and the Knight Riders came out as the better team that day. (BCCI)
After captain Gautam Gambhir guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab, the team will be high on confidence when they take on Mumbai Indians, who registered a clinical win against Hyderabad.
The last time the two sides faced off was in the IPL-7 opener in the United Arab Emirates, and the Knight Riders came out as the better team that day. KKR have been struggling to find their feet in the ongoing tournament, but back-to-back victories, especially a clinical win over a strong Punjab side at this very venue, must have boosted their confidence.
Kolkata, who are placed fourth in the points table with four wins and five loses in nine games, would try their best to get a win against Mumbai and brighten their chances of making to the play-off stage. Kolkata's batting has clicked against both Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, with underfire skipper Gautam Gambhir leading from the front striking a couple of half-centuries to guide the team to victory.
Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey have also made significant contributions in the last two games and would be looking to continue with their exploits. KKR bowlers will also draw confidence form the fact that they managed to restrict Punjab's strong batting lineup to just 149/8.
Gambhir's decision to include Morne Morkel and Piyush Chawla in the playing XI against Punjab was justified as they picked five wickets for 49 runs in eight overs between them. While leg-spinner Chawla (3/19) bowled brilliantly in the middle overs, pacer Morkel (2/20) did his job to perfection.
On the other hand, Mumbai Indians, who have just three victories from nine games so far, are well aware that they would have to win all their remaining matches if they want a berth in the play-offs.
They will take inspiration from the seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. Despite most of their batsmen being among the runs, Mumbai have faltered a little too often in this tournament so far. Skipper Rohit Sharma and West Indian Kieron Pollard have been successful in the current season.
Against Hyderabad, Rayudu (68) along with Lendl Simmons (68) comfortably chased down a 158-run target. Mumbai opener Chidambaram Gautam has also pulled off a few surprises with his big hits.
However, other key batsmen in the ranks - Michael Hussey and Corey Anderson - are yet to click. And Mumbai can only hope that they would rise to the occasion tonight.
As far as Mumbai bowling is concerned, Zaheer Khan's absence has hurt Mumbai but if the likes of Lasith Malinga, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha manage to fire in unison, the hosts might face some serious trouble.
With PTI inputs