Desperate to get back to the winning days, Kings XI Punjab on Thursday will lock horns with Mumbai Indians as the Indian Premier League moves to Indore’s Holkar Stadium for match number 22 of the IPL campaign.
Having lost three games in the trot — Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders — Maxwell’s side is looking a little rusty despite having kicked off their IPL campaign with a bang.
Contrary, Mumbai started on a patchy note has gathered momentum and the team has synched well and registered fascinating four win — Gujarat Lions by 6 wickets, Royal Challengers Bangalore by 4 wickets, Sunrisers Hyderabad by 4 wickets and Kolkata Knight Riders by 4 wickets — in their last four games.
Skipper Rohit Sharma will want to cash on Mumbai’s good form and gather as keep moving in the points table.
Kings XI Punjab comes back to the Holkar Stadium for today’s game with a cushion of 100% win record. Punjab has played two matches — defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 8 wickets and Rising Pune Supergiant by 6 wickets — in Indore, which is also their new home this season.
A striking feature of their both the win at home is that the victory came while chasing something that the team has not done well during their last two IPL fixtures.
Coach Virender Sehwag will be wary of the situation and go back to the drawing board to find the right combination in the batting order.
Captain Glenn Maxwell’s recent form adds to the misery as others except for Hasim Amla and Manan Vohra have misfired so far.
Glenn Maxwell who stayed unbeaten for the first two games started the IPL with a bang, has lost the form since Punjab played against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali.
The captain needs to get back to the groove if the team fancies any chance of getting back in the tournament — already slipping away with time.
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) April 19, 2017
Punjab’s middle order — Eoin Morgan, David Miller and Marcus Stoinis — also need to contribute with runs. Their disdain form so far has already cost the team two easy matches — against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils.
Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma are the pick of the bowlers for the team. Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron have failed to put any impressive performance so far in the tournament.
Punjab also lacks a spinner partner for Axar Patel who bowls well but fails as the runs keep flowing from the other end. At this point, Maxwell might think of bringing T Natarajan back to the side.
Punjab will have to come up with an all around performance if they want to stop the Mumbai Juggernaut from enforcing riots at Holkar Stadium.
Mumbai Indians contrary to their last nine IPL seasons have turned their luck around with some spirited performances. With four wins in a trot and Captain Rohit Sharma hinting of getting back in the groove, Coach Mahela Jayawardene is amongst the most comfortable managers in the dugout.
The strength for the Mumbai Indians has been an all around performance right from the openers to the bowlers.
The opening pair of Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler is in good form and provides a good start to the team. Both the batsmen play their shots freely and are able to cash filed restrictions during the first six overs of the game. The little concern is in them not able to convert the starts into the big score.
So far the team has sailed through, but as the tournament narrows down it will be imperative for the openers to go beyond good starts.
Mumbai middle order, especially the likes of Nitish Rana and Kieron Pollard has played very well so far in the tournament. While Nitish Rana — 193 runs in 5 matches — has caught everyone’s attention; Pollard — 164 runs in 5 matches — has batted with added responsibility and has been instrumental in crafting victories for MI against RCB and Gujarat Lions.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) April 20, 2017
The Pandya brother duo has also been very influential in the team’s run so far. Both Hardik and Krunal have put up a show of their own — together they have scored 169 runs and shared 7 wickets in the 5 matches.
The bowling department led by the experience of Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga have been on the money right from the word ‘play’.
Together Mumbai Indians looks a very formidable unit and amongst the strongest contender for the IPL trophy.
Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians have played 18 matches the IPL, with both the teams winning nine games each.
With the pitch offering some initial movement to the bowlers, both the captains will like to bat second after winning the toss at Holkar Stadium.
A win today will take Mumbai to the top of the table; for Punjab, it will be a sigh of relief after suffering three blows on a trot.
Team Kings XI Punjab
Glenn maxwell (c), VR Aaron, HM Amla, Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, KC Cariappa, MJ Guptill, Gurkeerat Singh, MJ Henry, SE Marsh, DA Miller, EJG Morgan, NS Naik, T Natarajan, AR Patel, WP Saha, P Sahu, DJG Sammy, Sandeep Sharma, I Sharma, MM Sharma, RK Singh, MP Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, R Tewatia, M Vohra
Team Mumbai Indians
Rohit Sharma (c), JJ Bumrah, JC Buttler, S Gopal, K Gowtham, DAS Gunaratne, Harbhajan Singh, MG Johnson, K Khejroliya, SD Lad, MJ McClenaghan, SL Malinga, HH Pandya, KH Pandya, PA Patel, KA Pollard, N Pooran, DS Punia, N Rana, AT Rayudu, JM Sharma, KV Sharma, LMP Simmons, TG Southee, J Suchith, SS Tiwary, R Vinay Kumar