IPL: Sunday 6 May Preview

Cricketer hits ball

Defending champions Mumbai have all but been ruled out of contention for a berth in the play-offs, while Kolkata's quest for graduation to the final four remains firmly on track. Punjab, too, are still in the running, but it's genuinely touch and go for Rajasthan.

MI vs KKR | Sunday, 6 May | Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai | 12:30

Rohit Sharma's men take on Dinesh Karthik's troops, determined to rekindle their best shown in the 2017 tourney. The Knight Riders, of course, will beg to differ.

To Win Match
Mumbai Indians 92/100
Tie 35/1 
Kolkata Knight Riders 92/100

Mumbai Indians
Time is running out quickly for the title holders, if it hasn't already. Their chances of advancing are a nominal possibility rather than a plausible probability, leaving this fixture as a must-win, no matter what. Their homegrown guns are not really firing frequently enough and their West Indian recruits - Evin Lewis and Kieron Pollard - are battling injury and lack of form, respectively.

The teams will meet again on 9 May, by which point the outcome might be inconsequential for either. Mumbai, meanwhile, can take inspiration from the fact that they have not lost to Sunday's opposition in their last six attempts - and were particularly dominant over them last year. All-rounder Krunal Pandya was entirely key then - and will surely be this time, too.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata will be buoyed by Thursday's victory over the log-leading Chennai Super Kings, but will know that Mumbai won't be nearly as sloppy in the field as the men in yellow were. Their batsmen have to make sure they middle the ball on a pitch known to be a bit two-paced in parts. Shubman Gill, indeed, has some fine recent form to capitalise on.

Whether or not they go with Mitchell Johnson ahead of Tom Curran again hangs in the balance. Johnson was off colour at Eden Gardens - and drafting in the Englishman, and his characteristic slower balls delivered from the back of the hand, seems the right option. Either way, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla must not be afforded the new ball again.

Verdict: Kolkata Knight Riders 92/100
While history suggests otherwise, current form all but insists Kolkata will get one back over Mumbai - and effectively boot the defending champs out of the competition.

KXIP vs RR | Sunday, 6 May | Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore | 16:30

Punjab enjoyed a real test against Rajasthan on Friday - and will be relieved Chris Gayle is back at it. The Royals, well, have to rekindle the success they pledged in early April.

To Win Match
Kings XI Punjab 72/100
Tie 35/1
Rajasthan Royals 23/20

Kings XI Punjab 
Gayle's return is, understandably, a big boost - but the hosts have also learnt to not rely too much on him. Once more, Lokesh Rahul, Yuvraj Singh and the rest of the batting order need to ensure that, if Gayle doesn't fire, or even if he does, the rest must follow suit. The return to favour of Axar Patel and Marcus Stoinis will certainly help.

The Kings XI had the better of Rajasthan in 2014 and 2015, winning three of their four meetings. The Royals, of course, didn't compete in the 2016 and 2017 competition. They will meet again next week, so now is the time for the home side to seal the advantage before heading to Jaipur, where conditions will be far less conducive to their expansive style.

Rajasthan Royals
And so another chance for Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat to justify their big-ticket prices at the player auction comes knocking. Stokes has the opportunity to put in a big showing with the bat at a venue renowned for pretty high totals, while Unadkat has the greater challenge in trying to restrict runs amid the short boundaries.

Rajasthan reached their lowest of lows recently, losing to eighth-placed Delhi. Nothing less than a convincing victory, against admittedly stronger opposition, will suffice in return. They'd do well to bowl first if triumphant at the toss - and later chase against a team consistently discomforted by defending.

Verdict: Kings XI Punjab 72/100
Victory should take Punjab a step closer to the play-offs, if not the entire way. The other batsmen and bowlers, though, have to step up in support of veritable one-man army Gayle.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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