PREVIEW: Star spinner Sunil Narine's presence and a sizzling win against the Delhi Daredevils in their first game of the ninth season should give enough confidence to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ahead of a tough battle against defending champions Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Narine, who had flown to the West Indies after his father's death, came back to the city to join KKR on Monday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has cleared his action, but whether he will be drafted into the playing XI at the Eden Gardens against Mumbai remains to be seen.
KKR have had a great start to the tournament. In the last game they overwhelmed Delhi by nine wickets after bowling them out for a paltry 98.
For the men in purple and gold, all-rounder Andre Russell and chinaman bowler Brad Hogg stole the show with the ball, picking up three wickets each. They were ably supported by John Hastings (2 for 6) and Piyush Chawla (2 for 21).
The chase was comfortable too with skipper Gautam Gambhir scoring an unbeaten 38.
Mumbai, on the other hand, had a poor outing in the opener against Rising Pune Supergiants. Pune, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, crushed them with nine wickets to spare chasing a low total of 121 for eight.
Mumbai's only notable contribution with the bat came from an unlikely source — Harbhajan Singh, who top scored with 45 — while the famed top order could only manage single digits.
But at the Eden, Mumbai would want to turn the tables. This has been a happy hunting ground for Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, and if the likes of Lendl Simmons and Jos Buttler fire, KKR would have big problems to deal with.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, John Hastings, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Lendl Simmons, Mitchell McClenaghan, Marchant de Lange, Tim Southee, Unmukt Chand, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Shreyas Gopal, Nathu Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ambati Rayudu, Akshay Wakhare, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad.