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A MI-ghty challenge

Express News Service

KOCHI: Rohit Sharma is not the kind of captain to press the panic button after losing the opening game. In the last edition, they had slumped to a defeat against Chennai Super Kings and questions were asked about their record in the UAE. The Mumbai outfit went onto silence all doubters by lifting the title. The last ball defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s season opener on Friday would have been hard to take, but Kolkata Knight Riders would be wary of Rohit and Co when the two meet on Tuesday.

Mumbai have dominated this fixture as far as head-to-head records go and that could give them a mental edge. Out of the 27 meetings between the two teams, Mumbai have won it a staggering 21 times with KKR winning just six. And despite tasting defeat, they can look at some positives from the opener. Their debutant Marco Jansen almost defended six runs in the final over while Chris Lynn slotted in nicely in place of Quinton de Kock despite the run out mix-up with Rohit.

The team will have to decide whether to retain Lynn or pick De Kock who is available for selection. “It is a good headache to have as a management. We are lucky and fortunate to have such a squad where people are waiting to grab those opportunities, and pushing each other, so that’s the exciting part,” said Mumbai’s Director of Cricket Operations, Zaheer Khan.

The former Indian pacer added that the team needed to adapt to the circumstances. “This year’s format is different. So, from that point of view, we need to have that adaptability and flexibility around the squad as well. Going to different places, we need to plan accordingly” he added.The onus will be on the Kolkata outfit to try and improve the dubious statistic staring at them and with the kind of start they had in the competition, Eoin Morgan and Co can be confident.KKR registered a convincing win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

The batting looked a lot more settled with Nitish Rana opening alongside Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi coming in at number three. Dinesh Ka­r­t­h­ik also looked good in the death overs. The bowling department also did a commendable job and Morgan is confident they are on the right track. “One of the many strengths we have within our squad is two of the most talented guys in the country opening the batting for us. Tripathi at No. 3 played beautifully, and the middle-order we have is extremely versatile. When Dinesh plays like that or Andre plays the game he can play, you’re going to see a very destructive batting unit that has potential to win you matches,” he said.

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