Only team to qualify for the playoffs till now, Mumbai Indians are sprinting towards the title this season. Bucking their previous year trends of making a dash later in the tournament to make it to second phase, they now need just one win out of the two remaining matches to ensure top two finish. Emerging as the most settled side in IPL 2017, all the players and their roles are clearly spelt out. They seem to have a backup for all, whether it is Lendl Simmons for Jos Butler or Karn Sharma for Krunal Pandya. An unexpected batting failure meant that Sunrisers got the better of them in the last match. Mumbai Paltan would be looking to shrug that off and gain some winning momentum heading into the playoffs. Here are the Preview and Match Predictions for Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab.
The harder the obstacle, the more glorious the triumph. Kings XI Punjab managed to sneak out a win against KKR owing to some disciplined bowling. But they now run into another mighty side, Mumbai Indians. They have 12 points from 12 games and they need to win both their remaining matches to stay in the contention for playoffs. Even 16 points may not guarantee a next round spot but that’s the least they can do to give themselves the opportunity . And just in case, Rising Pune have a NRR of -0.060 compared to Kings XI’s 0.242, so any situation that comes down to run rates will clearly favour Kings XI. Can Maxwell and co. repeat the heroics of last match and do “Chak de phatte” again?
The average first innings score this season’s matches at the Wankhede Stadium is 163. The conditions here have always favoured the batsmen. Spinners have been difficult to score off at the Wankhede Stadium this season; the overall economy rate of spin bowlers in IPL 2017 here is 6.83. Dew will help the side batting second so chasing is a better option here.
MUMBAI INDIANS – STRENGTHS
The captain of MI, Rohit Sharma has got his form back as he waged a lone battle against Sunrisers in the last match. In the bowling department, Harbhajan Singh has been phenomenal in the middle overs. He has stemmed the flow of runs and forced the batsmen to mke mistakes. Mitchell McClenaghan has provided the crucial breakthroughs with the new ball. The new revelation, Jasprit Bumrah is playing the best cricket of his life.
MUMBAI INDIANS – WEAKNESSES
Despite winning some close matches, Mumbai have allowed the opposition many a times to make a comeback. Nitish Rana’s form has gradually dipped as the season has progressed. In his first six innings, he scored 255 runs at a strike rate of 142.45. In his next five innings, he has scored 66 runs at a strike rate of 90.41. Lendl Simmons hasn’t got too much opportunities but Mumbai need him to fire as they depend a lot on a good start upfront. Lasith Malinga’s bowling has lacked the spark, it once had.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – STRENGTHS
Kings XI Punjab players and especially the bowlers would be beaming with the confidence after their strong showing against KKR. Sandeep Sharma has posed tough questions with both new ball and at death.
Rahul Tewatia, the 23-year-old legspinner from Haryana, impressed all with his skills with both bat and ball. And Axar Patel has grown in confidence with each match. Mohit Sharma turned the last match in KXIP’s favour with his innocuous slower deliveries. Glenn Maxwell also played an important cameo and looked in good touch.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – WEAKNESSES
The trio of overseas batsmen – Shaun Marsh, Martin Guptill and Glenn Maxwell have thrown off good starts. The batting of KXIP depends a lot on these three and they must now look to make a big impact. Manan Vohra seems to have run out of steam. Wriddhiman Saha hasn’t looked comfortable in his stay at the crease. Swapnil Singh, an all rounder from Baroda, failed to impress with both bat and ball. Matt Henry also gave away a lot of runs.
MI – With Krunal Pandya still recuperating from hip injury, MI are unlikely to risk him before playoffs. So they must retain the playing XI from the last match.
Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel (wk), Nitish Rana, Rohit Sharma (capt), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.
KXIP – Gurkeerat Mann may get a game here in place of Swapnil Singh. Darren Sammy may also play his first game of IPL 2017.
Manan Vohra, Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell (capt), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Axar Patel, Matt Henry, Rahul Tewatia, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 19, MI – 10, KXIP – 9.
Earlier this season, an Amla ton went in vain as Mumbai chased down KXIP score of 199 with 27 balls to spare.
KXIP face a must win situation here and MI would love to cement their top spot. Here’s what we predict.
If KXIP bats first
1st Innings Score: 180 – 190
MI wins by 5 wickets.
If MI bats first
1st innings Score: 170 – 180
MI wins by 20 – 30 runs.