On Friday (May 4), the Kings XI Punjab and the Mumbai Indians meet for the first time in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League at Punjab’s new base in Indore.
KXIP last played a game on April 26 and has enjoyed a week off since a heart breaking loss against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in which their middle order batiing collapsed and Punjab lost the match convincingly despite chasing a modest total. The break would have definitely helped t recover from such a defeat. However, against the Mumbai Indians, KXIP will look to stamp authority and get back to winning ways and remain in the Top 3 rankings of the points table.
Mumbai Indians on the other hand are running short of time and would have to win all their remaining matches to stay alive in the competition. Although the MI squad looks pretty good on paper they have not been able to perform as a unit. Their batting has been under the radar in their last couple of defeats.
The Kings XI boasts of the most formidable opening duo of the IPl-2018 and would expect its openers to come out and fire all cylinders at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. Chris Gayle and KL Rahul have done most of the scoring for the team and apart from the duo, the middle order, despite having big names, hasn’t really got going in the tournament so far. Apart from their middle order (which consists of the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Manoj Tiwari, Yuvraj Singh) woes KXIP do not really have lots of issues to address. The bowlers have been doing a decent job for the team and R Ashwin has been an astute and smart leader.
For the Mumbai Indians- Suryakumar Yadav has been a consistent run getter but apart from him other batsmen haven’t really performed as per reputation. Ishan Kishan hasn’t been able to continue the form which he showed during the initial phase of the tournament. West Indian Evin Lewis also has not been his devastating best in the tournament so far. Lewis, who missed the previous game because of an injury, is expected to replace Kieron Pollard in the Playing XI tonight. MI could also include Mustafizur Rehman in place of somebody like a Ben Cutting. Given the batsmen-friendly conditions in Indore, the death bowling duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mustafizur could be the X factor that MI can try to implement against the Punjab side.
As far as the Kings are concerned, Aaron Finch, who hasn’t had a good tounrnament so far, can make way for a proper middle order batsman like David Miller. That should be the only change going into the match if all players are available for selection, since Manoj Tiwari should get a few more games under his belt.
It could well be Chris Gayle’s night in Indore. Gayle has looked in remarkable touch in the tournament and has three half centuries to his name in just the 4 outings- giving the Punjab side a perfect start each time he has come on to bat. Given the dimension of the Holkar Stadium, Gayle would be desperate to make it big in Indore and do what he does best- hit sixes.
What has been the common factor in the couple of wins that MI has experienced this season- it is their captain Rohit Sharma’s significant contribution with the bat. Once Rohit starts contributing with the bat, MI look a stronger unit. Rohit should also try and bat up the order, which has been a huge debate playing for the Mumbai Indians.
Bowlers- well, keep an eye on Jasprit Bumrah and Mayank Markande for the Mumbai Indians and Ankit Rajpoot and spinners- R Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rehman for Kings XI Punjab. The spinners would be very tempting to score off at Indore, but can be the wicket taking option as well for the fielding captain.
Expect a high scoring feast from Indore. Broadcast starts at 20:00 Hours (IST).