Images: Courtesy IPL/BCCI
One thing that's been noticeable in this year’s IPL has been the wonderful captaincy of those leading the teams. Their influence on their teams has been enormous and they have swung the game their way with thoughtful moves or simply by their own skills and setting the example for the others. Usually in a T20 format the skipper can’t do much as the game is so fast moving and fast changing. However this edition has seen skippers influencing the game back in their team's favour by a bowling change or a field placement or changing the batting slots for some players.
Gautam Gambhir did that for the Kolkata Knight Riders with a sterling batting display just when it looked that his team was panicking after losing three wickets in their chase of the revised target. Before that it was his bowling changes that helped restrict the powerful and in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad to a paltry total of 127. David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan have been to the two top scorers in the league so far and it was Gambhir who with his bowling changes made sure that he did not allow the duo or the other batsmen to settle down.
Steve Smith too has led the side admirably and got Pune into the finals. Of course he has had great help from Mahendra Singh Dhoni who from behind the stumps has made little adjustments to the fielders positions. David Warner too has been magnificent and it’s a wonderful thing for Australia that their captain and vice captain are such good thinkers and such positive leaders.
Mumbai will be hoping that their much vaunted batsmen rise to the occasion when they play the Kolkata team. Tinkering with the batting order did not help though Rohit Sharma got a horrendous decision. At the knockout level if such decisions are given then it can turn the game around completely and that's what happened with Mumbai.
Mumbai will be looking at its death overs bowling since it was in the last quarter of the innings that the game slipped further away from them. Jasprit Bumrah bowled two superb yorkers for the final two deliveries but before that he gave away two sixes with length balls which was baffling.
Mumbai have beaten Kolkata in both their games this season but KKR showed terrific resilience and determination to get to where they are now. It’s a mouth-watering clash indeed!
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