The first game of IPL 8 gets underway at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, featuring the current champions, KKR and Mumbai Indians. KKR will be a confident bunch after the clearance of Sunil Narine who underwent a test at Chennai to get his bowling action cleared. The Kolkata franchise threatened to pull out of the current season in case Narine was banned from bowling. However, there will be no such drama as both teams look to register their first win in what should be a keenly fought contest.
Mumbai is a batting heavy side with Rohit Sharma, Polard, Anderson retained last year. The inclusion of Aaron Finch and Parthiv Patel will bring some much needed stability at the top of the order. Mumbai has struggled to find good openers for a long time. This pair might just be the answer to their prayers of getting a decent opening partnership. Michael Hussey failed at the top of the order last year while Simmmons played consistenty. But, Mumbai requires power hitters like Aaron Finch to get the momentum right from the start of the innings. Corey Anderson will be expected to play a bigger role this year instead of sitting in the dugouts most of the time, which was the case in the previous season.
Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh continue to be the spearheads in the bowling department with Ojha providing some support. Vinay Kumar is the latest addition to the Indian bowlers department and a lot will be expected of him too. He is an international player so he might be a regular fixture in the team.
KKR on the other hand have a balanced side with players like Robin Uthappa, Gauam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan in good form. Yusuf Pathan struggled a little in last year’s IPL at the start of the season but came good in critical matches.
The bowling for KKR has never been a problem as spin plays a big role in home matches. There is no better spinner than Sunil Narine at the moment, and it will be a huge relief for KKR that he has been cleared to bowl. However, he will have to take every precaution so as not get called by the umpires again. Shakib Al Hasan has been fantastic for KKR with his spin and explosive hitting down the order. They look quite ready for getting into the top four again but will encounter a tough opposition in Mumbai Indians. Mumbai has always done well in Kolkata and have beaten KKR regularly at their home ground. Hence, they have the advantage going into this match.
Mumbai Indians – 2.10 @ Bet365