MUMBAI: It has been a roller-coaster ride for Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Kn*ight Riders (KKR) on their way to the newly introduced IPL Eliminator match that will be held at Wankhede St*a*dium on Wednesday night. Both the teams have been inconsistent to finally finish third and fourth in the eight-team league.

But it will be a different ball game in this knock-out match. There is a lot of stake for both the teams in this virtual quarterfinal match.

It has all been about moment*um and both MI and KKR ha*ve played the best and wo*r*st cricket in this year’s IPL so far. But it is all history now. The team which holds the nerve has even a chance to emerge winner.

Skipper Sachin Tendulkar would have been least pleased with the performances of his team in the last few matches of the league. After a brilliant start to the league campaign, MI courted disaster in the la*st three matches before clin*c*hing a last-ball win against KKR at Kolkata, thanks to the James Franklin-Ambati Ray*u*du partnership. MI have to regroup and regain the confidence that was so high at the start to take on KKR ag*a*in at home.

There could be a few ch*a*n*ges or reshuffle in the batti*ng order. There is a possibility that the brilliant Rohit Sh*arma could open with Ten*d*ulkar. Sharma is not new to this role as in the past he had opened for the Indian team. The little master continues to be the main run-getter for MI with 477 runs from 14 ma*tches. Sharma (359 runs) and Rayudu (383 runs) have been the other main batsm*en.

If the three get going at the top, then players like Kieron Pollard, Franklin could be devastating in the ‘death’ overs. Lasith Malinga is the top wicket-taker in IPL-4 with 27 wickets from 14 matches.

For Gautam Gambhir, it was a nightmare of the last over against MI other day as it was a disappointing end to the league campaign. He was confident that both KKR and Balaji will come back hard at Mumbai. Gambhir has followed in the footsteps of MS Dhoni. He has been cool and calculative.

In other seasoned players like Jacques Kallis and Brett Lee, KKR have got the extra cushion. But it is the performances of batsman Manoj Tiwary and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla that have caught the eye.

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