Based on their form this season, this shouldn’t be a contest. A team that knows to win against a team that finds a way to lose – but then again, this is the IPL. Anybody can beat anybody on any day. Three teams are more or less through to the play-offs: Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kings XI Punjab beat one of those teams in their last outing, and will look to be the giant killers again.
Mumbai Indians are looking for their sixth consecutive win and will hope it comes with the same comfort and ease they’ve been achieving so far. Unless they feel the necessity of resting anyone, it is hard to see Mumbai change their eleven too much. James Pattinson could come back again for Nathan Coulter-Nile after the latter was expensive in their previous game.
The top four hold the key when it comes to Punjab’s batting, and they have enough quality there to take on a bowling lineup as good as Mumbai’s. The legspinners will need to have big games, as does Mohammed Shami. Early wickets from him in the Powerplay will expose the MI middle order to a lengthy period of leg spin, the Achilles heel of a lot of MI’s batsmen.
MI won by 48 runs
The first meeting between the two was the start of MI’s ongoing streak. Rohit Sharma led the way with a couple of cameos by Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya to post a daunting total of 191. In response, KXIP could only manage 143, as MI’s entire bowling unit came to the party with each picking up at least one wicket
Krunal Pandya to bowl in the Powerplay
Mumbai love starting off with the quicks and getting early wickets in the Powerplay. But Punjab’s openers love facing the quicks. If there is not much swing on offer, Krunal Pandya could be asked to bowl a couple of overs in the Powerplay.
If Trent Boult and Pattinson/Coulter-Nile fail to get early wickets, Jasprit Bumrah will be required against KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Rohit will also prefer to use Bumrah against Chris Gayle, and Nicholas Pooran especially due to the lack of an offspinner in the XI, not to mention keeping Bumrah’s overs at the death. Rohit must be one of supporters for the idea of increasing the limitation of overs from four to five.
KXIP probable playing 11: 1 KL Rahul (capt/wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mandeep Singh, 7 Chris Jordan, 8 Murugan Ashwin, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Ravi Bishnoi
MI probable playing 11: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
If Punjab do find themselves ahead in the game, they need to make sure that no indecisiveness creeps in. They got away with it against RCB, but give the likes of Bumrah a chance, and they will bring MI roaring back into the game. Punjab needs a lot of things to go right, and Mumbai to make a few uncharacteristic errors to have a chance of keeping their slim hopes of securing a playoff qualification alive.