Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, two teams who had a terrible outing the last time IPL was played in UAE, take on each other in the fifth game of the season. Both the sides are filled with terrific middle order batsmen and are considered as the two most difficult sides to defend against. Without a doubt, both teams will look to chase first, more so because of their vulnerable death bowling.

As we get ready to witness the battle between two of the best batting lineups this season, here we look at some of the key matchups and tactical analysis for the game:

The Game-Changing Death Overs:

Overall, KKR have scored the fastest in overs 16-20 since 2018. They maintain a run rate of 10.93 in the death overs, while MI with 10.11 runs per over stand fifth. But how have these two sides performed against each other in death overs?

Runs per OverKKRMI
vs MI/KKR9.2511.44
vs Others11.209.93

Despite having the best run rate in death overs in the league in the last couple of seasons, KKR have scored 9.25 runs per over in death against MI, which is 1.95 runs per over less than what they score against others and 2.19 less than what MI have scored against them. Mi on the other hand thrive on KKR death bowling. They have scored 1.51 runs per over more against KKR than they do against others.

However, with Malinga not available, the death bowling for MI has considerably weakened and they are heavily reliant on Bumrah to do the job. Nathan Coulter-Nile not being fit is not helping MI either. KKR can not ask for a better chance to win the death over battle against a team that they have the worst head to head record against.

Dinesh Karthik has a strike rate of 217.39 against MI’s prime bowler Bumrah since 2017, having faced 23 balls and scoring 50 runs without getting dismissed.

KKR and the Struggle for Wickets in the Powerplay:

KKR and MI are two teams who have scored at a lower run rate against each other than they do against other teams and also average higher runs per wicket against each other than against other teams. While MI have been usually successful in getting breakthroughs in powerplays against other oppositions, KKR have been found wanting in the powerplays in terms of wickets, putting more pressure on the bowlers in middle and death overs.

Runs per Wicket in Powerplays since 2018KKRMI
vs Mumbai Indians64.3363.33
vs Others52.6238.15

KKR bowlers ahve struggled against all oppositions to pick wickets in poerplays, while MI have had this problem particularly aginst KKR and KXIP. However, with Trent Boult coming in, they will have a better chance at getting into the KKR middleorder right during the poewerplays.Boult has dismissed Narine twice in 8 balls since 2017. Moreover, since 108, Narine has got out 4 times in 30 balls against left0arm quicks .The likes of Krunal and Bumrah have good numbers against Tripathi and Narine too.

But do KKR have the arsenal to dismantle the MI top order? None of their pacers except Prasidh Krishna have tasted success against Quinton and Rohit in recent times. Can they try the experienced Narine in powwerplays?

Sunil Narine vs MI top-order since 2017Balls FacedDismissalsStrike rate
Rohit Sharma432106.98
Quinton de Kock19178.95
Suryakumar Yadav180105.56

The numbers clearly suggest the need for Narine in Powerplays. Narine has an economy of 6.79 in Powerplays since 2017 and has a strike rate of 24.75. Without conceding easy runs, Narine building pressure will create opportunities to get breakthroughs for the pacers from the other end.