Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders: Rohit Sharma to keep Indian sign on Riders

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma has been prolific against KKR down the years
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The Mumbai Indians often play better when the chips are down and James Buttler is backing them to extend their dominance over the Riders...

"Mumbai have won 16 of the 21 games they have played against KKR and have taken the last six games between the two sides. At the Wankhede Stadium the Indians lead the encounter six games to one. If history is a guide Mumbai look a great bet."

Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunday May 6, 11:30
Live on Sky Sports

Encouraging signs for Mumbai

Mumbai's victory over Kings XI Punjab on Friday saw them cling on to their hopes of a Playoff place, but their 2018 future is hanging by a thread. Rohit Sharma's side, however, are a tough one with plenty of support, but they have a lot of work to do.

There are signs it is beginning to click with Sharma beginning to fire with the bat, Suryakumar Yadav hitting 340 runs in nine innings and the Pandya brothers contributing with bat and ball. Jasprit Bumrah has been superb with the ball at the death.

With five matches left to play the IPL winners in 2013 and 2015 need to win four games to guarantee themselves passage to the final stages. Their next two games, both against KKR, will go a long way to deciding their fate.

Kolkata just inches from playoff spot

KKR won the IPL in 2012 and 2014 and have every chance to add to their trophy cabinet this season. With five wins from their nine games so far they have nine toes in the Playoffs and the next two games against Mumbai could book their passage into the final stages.

Dinesh Karthik (280), Chris Lynn (260), Andre Russell (207) and Robin Uthappa (205) have all scored more than 200 runs and batting has definitely been KKR's forte. Only Sunil Narine (10) has reached double figures in the wicket-taking stakes.

Head-to-head record points to a Mumbai win

If you use the head-to-head stats between these two sides this market is easy to call. While both KKR and Mumbai come into this game with some momentum, the Indians have bossed this fixture down the years and their price of [1.95] is a fair one, particularly when they are getting into must-win territory.

Mumbai have won 16 of the 21 games they have played against KKR and have taken the last six games between the two sides. At the Wankhede Stadium the Indians lead the encounter six games to one. If history is a guide Mumbai look a great bet.

Sharma can top score for Mumbai

Suryakumar Yadav is the star performer for Mumbai this season and 5/2 is a sold play, but for me Rohit Sharma at 7/2 is the standout play. With 594 runs against KKR over the years he is far and away the most prolific batsman in this fixture. Sharma also has the only hundred ever scored between the two teams and also the next two best knocks. A nibble on Kieron Pollard at 12/1 is a good cover bet.

Two to play in Kolkata batting heat

A fully fit Chris Lynn is a potent T20 weapon and his 260 runs at the top of the order have come at a strike-rate of 134.02. The Aussie is available at 12/5, but I'm a sucker for Nitish Rana in this market at a tempting 9/2. Playing Rana alongside Dinesh Karthik at 7/1 seems a strong way in to this market. Karthik tops the KKR batting averages with 280 runs at an average of 46.66, but the caveat here is his highest score of 46 not out. Karthik has been Mr Consistency with the bat, but rarely top scores, yet that price tempts me hugely.

Go overs on the run outs!

At 7/4 this is a market I've left alone for a few games as it hasn't been as prolific a bet as usual in IPL 2018. But we are getting to the nitty gritty of this competition now and the pressure to turn for the extra run and take risks against great fielders to get home is now fierce. It's time to get back on the run out horse!

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*Follow James on Twitter @cricket_badger

James Buttler at IPL 2018

Staked: 34pts
Returned: 34.23pts
P/L: +0.23pts

At IPL 2017

Staked: 47pts
Returned: 50.36pts
P/L: +3.36pts

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