The IPL semi-final between the traditional big two of the Indian franchises, the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders, kicks off at Bangalore this afternoon.
The Indians qualified top of the league, but suffered disappointment when failing to chase a modest total of 162 in their super-qualifier against Pune.
Kolkata, by contrast, looked to be slipping out of contention with a weak league finish, but were convincing winners of a rain-affected contest against Hyderabad here two days ago. Their bowling was superb that day, restricting the usually belligerent Sunrisers to just 128.
It might be that the KKR approach this match in more buoyant mood, and that recent experience of the testing Bangalore pitch could give them an edge over the favourites, Mumbai.
Weather could play a part, and it will be a good toss to win and choose to bowl first.
Nathan Coulter-Nile has been KKR’s leading wicket ace, but this might be the time to back West Indian team-mate Sunil Narine to star. The tricky spinner continues to be a tough proposition for batsmen. In a potentially low scoring match, the usual tactic of seeing off Narine and scoring off the others may not be so effective.
Sunny has also been re-cast as a batsman this year, often being used as a pinch hitter in the early overs. His ability to impact the game with both bat and ball make him likely to be a huge figure in any KKR victory.
Generally he is a fair looking 8/1 to win the Man of the Match award, but Stan James stand apart with a vey tasty looking 12/1. That’ll do us nicely.
Recommendation: Sunil Narine, Man of the Match, 12/1 Stan James
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