Mumbai Indians are in the urge to heal the wound they got in their first match of this IPL edition. This time MI is going to clash with another master tactician, Kolkata Knight Riders.

KKR is playing its first match of this edition, and they look even more balanced with the addition of Eoin Morgan to their engine room. KKR with the leadership of Dinesh Karthik seems so good as they have added Pat Cummins to their bowling side, who was the costliest buy of the last season. 

Let’s dive into the predictions to feel the build-up of the clash.

Prediction on the top run-scorer

Abu Dhabi wicket is slow and at the same time the front V region, that is the (covers, long on, long-off and mid-wicket regions) are longer than what it is supposed to be in Indian grounds. This puts even the big hitters’ go-to shots under trouble. The ball doesn’t come easy to the bat, especially when the spinners bowl, so the exciting sweeps are also made to be difficult for the batters. As a consequence, the batters with a wide range of shots can excel in such conditions. 

On looking at the situation, Eoin Morgan of KKR is the best prediction to his bat speaking a high tone in their clash against mighty MI. The England skipper hasn’t done much in IPL so far. Now he has a point to prove. With his tremendous form in his home T20 series against Windies, Pakistan and Australia, one can definitely bet on this Irish born England batter. 

As KKR is dependent on their spinners, the spin bowling power-hitter Hardik Pandya looks too strong for the Kolkata based franchise. 

Prediction on top wicket-taker

The wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav will be the front-runner to claim the most number of wickets between two staunch sides. As he is good with the floating deliveries, the batters will look to take the lead against him. Which, in turn, will provide him with more opportunities to the scalp. He is well experienced now, and the current ground conditions of UAE will favour the bowling the Kanpur- born young bloke does.

The KKR brutal-hitters like Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell are higher victims for Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya. Not only for those particular players, since KKR possesses left-handers in their top order such as Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana, a leg spinner and a left-arm spinner won’t be the best wicket-taking options for MI. 

So MI will have a more significant impact from Trent Boult with the ball. He swings in both the way and definitely a tough customer in the death overs. Therefore for the New Zealand pacer is considered to be the competitor for most number wicket-taker for this particular match. 

Prediction on Who will win the match?

KKR is rusty while MI is wounded, but looking on the bench strength and pressure handling ability, MI stands tall with more number of match-winners in their side. They have this habit of coming back stronger after a defeat. 

Batting wise, MI has a wide variety of batters. But for KKR, except Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell, the match-winning ability is lesser for other batters as they haven’t proved much. 

The pace attack is good for Mumbai Indians as they possess lethal Jasprit Bumrah, dasher Trent Boult and the pace producer James Pattinson. But their spin attack wasn’t that strong in the first match. Speaking of spin, KKR is too good compared to MI as they possess the match winners Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. 

On comparing the strengths and current form, MI looks as the favourites to win this match against the first match of Kolkata in Abu Dhabi. 

Prediction on the most six-hitting batter:

A tight fight is going to occur between Hardik Pandya and Andre Russell if they both get on a roll. Both are big hitters. Both love to go towards the mid-wicket region even though the side is bigger from the wicket they bat. The only trouble for them to achieve this is their batting slot. They come at lower order which at times doesn’t provide them with more balls to face. 

But Andre Russell might feel it difficult to go against the fast bowlers of MI as they are well experienced and they know what they bowl. The spinners of MI won’t be much a bother for Andre Russell. 

Hardik Pandya would have learnt the lesson from his first match dismissal. He would have found the distance of the boundary rope through his way of dismissal. So we are going to witness a more powerful Hardik bat swing in this match to go beyond the fence. And that puts him in the favourites in this list. 

Prediction on Man of the match:

There are more opportunities for the batters in these kinds of wickets to not spare the bowlers alone. In that sense, we can go with Eoin Morgan for the man of the match. Considering his current form, this UAE edition won’t be a big trouble maker for the English captain. As he is so fluent with unorthodox shots, it adds more strength to his kit. His natural ability bemuses the bowlers by making them confused in having a routine line and length for him. 

On the other side, Hardik Pandya’s long wait to win a match for his side may come to an end, as he would have adapted so well to the condition right now. His significant hitting nature that is bolstered with the timing has a separate fan base. What he has to do more is to focus on bowling too. In the last match, he didn’t get the opportunity. The name all-rounder gives great power to his name, and he must realize it to be the next big thing for the Indian team. 

To sum up

It’s going to be Mumbai’s game if they bat well against KKR. Batting is the factor they need to take care of. Any good partnership would put them in a comfortable slot as their bowling has the ability to restrict the opponents.