Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.© BCCI/IPL
Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders in a crunch Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) match on Thursday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. MI are coming off a loss against CSK, while KKR are buoyant after a comprehensive win over RCB. It is a crucial match for both teams given how the IPL points table stands currently. A win for KKR will bring them level on points with MI and that will further intensify the fight for the play-off spots. But remember, MI have had a vice like grip on this rivalry as they have won 22 out of the 28 encounters against KKR.
For MI to do well, they need to get off to a flying start and the one man who can do that is South African wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock. The southpaw has been the lynchpin for Mumbai at the top of the order and is currently the second most prolific run-getter amongst overseas players for the franchise with a tally of 1204 runs in 39 matches.
But de Kock has found the going tough against KKR, when the Eoin Morgan-led franchise has bowled spinners up front in the powerplay. de Kock has been dismissed thrice in the powerplay by KKR spinners in 6 matches. He has scored 172 runs in 10 innings against KKR at a dismal average of just over 19, which is his worst against any active IPL team.
So, the time has come for de Kock to shake off this sluggishness and get MI off to a strong start. He is standing on the cusp of a special record too, and a good performance will see him join an elite list of wicket-keeper batsmen who have scored more than 2000 runs in the IPL as specialist keepers.
de Kock has 1982 runs as a specialist keeper in IPL and needs just 18 more runs to become the second overseas player to join the elite list after Adam Gilchrist. This elite list of keeper batsmen is led by none other than CSK captain MS Dhoni.
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