Defending champions Mumbai Indians are in a rampaging form this season, winning five of their first seven games to end at the top of the table at the halfway mark of IPL 2020, and will look to consolidate their chances of making it to the playoffs with their consistent show against Kolkata Knight Riders in their return fixture at the same venue, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, on Friday. Mumbai had won by 49 runs in their last meeting this season, courtesy a 54-ball 80 from skipper Rohit Sharma.
Head-to-head tie: There is a reason why this battle is one of the most lopsided rivalries in IPL history. Mumbai Indians have an overwhelming 20-6 win-loss record against the Knight Riders which includes 10 wins in their last 11 games, their 10th being a clinical 49-run victory in KKR's IPL 2020 season opener in Abu Dhabi.
At the venue: Since that loss, KKR bounced back to win their next two games at the venue, taking their win-loss record to 3-3 in Abu Dhabi. Mumbai too had started off their IPL 2020 campaign with a defeat, at this venue, but came back strongly to win their next four games in Abu Dhabi. Overall, this will be their third H2H meeting at the venue, the first having taken place back in IPL 2014, when KKR had emerged victoriously.
- Should KKR look to rejig their batting once again given that Narine is most likely to miss out this tie? Most likely. Tom Banton will be retained as their opener, but KKR should feature him alongside Rahul Tripathi who averages 36.4 and has a strike rate of 140.5 as an opener, with five half-centuries, one of which came for KKR this season. His combined average drops to 15.9 for postions 3-8 in the lineup with a strike rate of 129.9. This can give KKR the chance to drop their most consistent batsman to No.3 or 4 given his better strike rate against spinners.
- Bumrah has been Mumbai's middle-over enforcer having picked five wickets during the phase at an economy rate of 4.8 and strike rate of 12 this season. And he holds the upper edge against three of KKR's batters - Russell (40, runs, 30 balls, 2 dismissals), Nitish Rana (five runs, 10 balls), and Eoin Morgan (eight runs, 12 balls, one dismissal). But not against Dinesh Karthik, who has scored 50 runs in 26 balls against Bumrah at a strike rate of 192.31 and zero dismissal.
- Rohit Sharma has scored 904 runs against KKR, the most by an IPL batsman against a single franchise. KKR can look to use Vatun Chakravarthy early given Rohit's vulnerability to leg-spin. He averages 21.5 against the variety, the least he has managed in IPL history, at a strike rate of 110.3.