Kolkata: Mystery spinner Sunil Narine’s return will enable a confident Kolkata Knight Riders to tighten the noose when they take on a shaky Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League cricket tournament encounter, here tomorrow.
Both the Knights and defending champions MI were a part of utterly lopsided campaigns in their respective lung openers.
While Knights clinically decimated Delhi Daredevils by 9 wickets having bowled the opposition for a sub-100 score, the Mumbai Indians were at the receiving end with league debutants Rising Pune Supergiants giving them a sound thrashing by 9 wickets.
Narine, who had left for the Caribbean after his father’s demise is back in Kolkata, and with clearance from the ICC will like to forge a lethal combination with 45-year-old chinaman exponent Brad Hogg, if both are picked as overseas recruits.
Narine with 74 IPL scalps from four seasons has been instrumental in Gautam Gambhir leading the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise to titles in 2012 and 2014.
If the jet-lagged Narine is available, it will mean a selection dilemma for Gambhir with the Aussie veteran Brad Hogg (3/19) being the pick of their bowler rattling DD for 98 in 17.4 overs.
In that case, Gambhir may like to dump John Hastings, who did bowl well against Daredevils. A look at India’s recent series in Australia will indicate that Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma had really played the big-bodied Aussie really well. The other option is to play a batsman less to induct Narine and in that case Colin Munro may be made to sit out.
That apart, KKR has the perfect winning combination in place even if that would mean a heartbreak for Bangaldeshi star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who could not make the XI despite his fine performance in the World Twenty20, where he took 10 wickets from seven matches.
This will be KKR’s last match at the Eden this month as they will hit the road for six successive away matches with West Bengal in the middle of the Assembly polls as Gambhir’s men cannot afford to let go the crucial two points at home.