Fast bowlers will be expected to continue ruling the roost particularly with the new ball as the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium will have a cover of fresh grass over it.
Kolkata fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi set the tone for their victory in the first match against Chennai, and they will be expected to use the conditions to their advantage on Friday night as well.
With a wicket-share of 70.62%, fast bowlers are going to enjoy the conditions more than the spinners who have taken only 29.38% of the wickets that have fallen at this venue.
Once again it will be a bright, clear and sunny day in the coastal city of Mumbai with the temperatures hitting a high of 30°C late in the afternoon, with the mercury dropping down by a narrow margin to 29°C during the match hours. The humidity levels will range between 65-70%.
Fantasy tips and tricks: Should I pick more bowlers, batsmen or all-rounders?
The pitch at the Wankhede Stadium has behaved true to its nature — it has bounce, pace and movement off the surface — providing a lot of assistance to fast bowlers who have dominated the proceedings here. In the first match at the Wankhede Stadium of the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022, Kolkata bowlers Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi exploited the conditions to their benefit, dominating the Chennai batsmen to set up an easy win for their side. With the venue set to host a total of 20 matches in this league stage of the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022, the pitch will continue to sport grass cover which will benefit the pacers most. Going into this clash, an ideal fantasy cricket playing XI should have a long batting line-up and a potent fast bowling line-up.
Fantasy tips: From which team should I pick more players in my XI? Which team is stronger?
It is a difficult question to answer at this stage in the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022. Both Kolkata and Punjab have talented players at their disposal and they can produce dominating, all-round performances like they did in their respective first matches each in the tournament. While Kolkata produced a one-sided game in the first match of the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022 to defeat the defending champions Chennai, Punjab fought right till the end to clinch a high-scoring thriller against Bangalore. However, Kolkata have already suffered a demoralising loss in their second game against Bangalore, and Friday night will present them another opportunity to keep making the right moves, after getting most of it wrong on Wednesday. That said, both Kolkata and Punjab have terrific squads on paper and should have a right mix of players featuring in the fantasy cricket playing XI.
MORE INFORMATION: Both Punjab and Kolkata have two points each but the latter have played a total of two matches. The loss to Bangalore on Wednesday night will play on the minds of the Kolkata batsmen in particular, who are yet to click together as a unit and make their mark on this tournament. The challenge will be tougher against a team like Punjab which bats long and deep, and their successful run-chase in excess of 200 against Bangalore already making them look a better-looking batting side. In the last 5 matches played between these two teams, Kolkata have an edge over Punjab with 3 victories compared to the opposition’s 2 but in a format as fickle as T20 cricket, nothing is guaranteed.
PLAYERS’ FORM: Punjab will be mighty pleased with their effort with the bat against Bangalore in the first match wherein they chased more than 200 to record their maiden win with an over to spare. The likes of Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shahrukh Khan, Odean Smith and Bhanuka Rajpaksa did well in the chase but Punjab will still have to work on their bowling, particularly on flat surfaces like the one witnessed in the first match against Bangalore at the DY Patil Stadium. Kolkata have Umesh Yadav and Varun Chakravarthy as their biggest weapons but none of their batsmen, barring Ajinkya Rahane to an extent, have been able to make a mark in the ongoing Indian T20 Cricket League 2022 tournament.
FANTASY XI: Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Shahrukh Khan, Andre Russell, Bhanuka Rajpaksa (wk), Umesh Yadav (c), Varun Chakravarthy (vc), Sunil Narine, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh.
Kolkata look to bounce back against confident Punjab
The return of Kagiso Rabada is expected to bolster the bowling line-up of Punjab who will face a misfiring Kolkata in the Match No 8 of the ongoing Indian T20 Cricket League tournament, to be played at the bowling-friendly Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Friday night.
The South African Rabada is not only one of the premier bowlers in the world but he has had a successful track record in the Indian T20 Cricket League playing for Delhi until last season, and his availability for selection from Friday’s clash onwards will be a huge advantage for Punjab, who seemed to be struggling with the ball against Bangalore.
Punjab batsmen produced a unified batting performance against Bangalore to chase more than 200 runs and record a victory by 5 wickets, which was achieved largely thanks to their long batting line-up which has been their biggest highlight of the season.
But earlier in the first half of the match, the Punjab bowlers were hammered all around the ground by a handful of Bangalore batsmen led by Faf du Plessis, who stroked his way to a fluent 88 from just 57 balls.
Punjab certainly would be pleased with the way their batting clicked together. Sri Lanka's Bhanuka Rajapaksa was as good as India's consistent batsman Shikhar Dhawan on the scoreboard, who has been making plenty of runs in all competitions and remains their biggest weapon with the bat.
Agarwal was also looking fluent with his strokes against Bangalore as Punjab will expect yet another strong display of batting on what should be a challenging pitch to play on in Mumbai.
With the Wankhede stadium stadium hosting 20 matches of the league round in this Indian T20 Cricket League, it is expected that fresh grass cover will continue to remain on the pitches for initial stages before they start turning and favour spinners.
The venue traditionally supports fast bowlers as it provides good bounce and carry along with pace off the surface, which was the reason why Kolkata were able to tame Chennai in their first match of this tournament.
Kolkata will be keen to revisit the strategies they had for the contest against Chennai which worked incredibly well for them, but batting remains the biggest concern.
The opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer is yet to click together and so is Shreyas Iyer, who has had two games without any big scores. Iyer came into this tournament on the back of three unbeaten scores in excess of 50 against Sri Lanka.
Umesh Yadav has been at the forefront of attack for Kolkata, who would want the others to chip in as well. The spin pair of Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine would aim to contain the batsmen whereas fast bowlers are likely to hunt for the wickets.