The Kings XI return to action to face Mumbai Indians at Indore. The Kings have played the least amount of games so far (7) and could potentially return to the top of the table with a win. The Indians are languishing right at the bottom of the table, but a victory could push them up to as high as number fifth.
Both teams have lost their previous games, to SRH and RCB respectively. Can Punjab continue to dominate after the break, or will Mumbai snatch a victory for themselves?
Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne.
Kings XI Punjab
Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar.
Where the teams stand
A primary reason for Mumbai’s struggles this season has been their inefficient batting. The top four are in good form, but they can be brittle on an off-day and the rest of the order simply cannot cope without them. Pandya came to the party in the last game with a fifty and three wickets to his name, but it proved to be in vain. This has been a recurring trend for the Indians throughout the season, and they should have observed that not solving this issue means no victories for them. On the bright side, Evin Lewis might return to the squad at the expense of Pollard, who should have been dropped years ago. Ben Cutting might be the one to miss out as well, but he is more capable of putting in a good performance than Pollard.
Mumbai’s bowlers have been their saving grace this season, weaseling out the team through some tight bowling. They restricted RCB to a low total, but the batsmen failed to finish the job. As always. The top four have genuinely been brilliant when on song, but they cannot be relied upon in every game. The same applies to the bowlers, who have almost defended several low targets set by their batsmen.
Fantasy Picks: The top four will once again be favourites as choices. Hardik Pandya’s all-round performance in the last game, while Bumrah is an excellent choice with the ball.
Kings XI Punjab
Chris Gayle has rejuvenated the Kings by his fiery batting at the top, but it has not come without consequences. The dependence on him after his knocks of 63 and 104 have rendered the rest of the lineup highly unreliable. In their past few games, once opposites have found the initial breakthrough, it has been a steady collapse for Punjab as the innings progresses. Their middle order has been shaky at best, with Nair the only one consistently getting runs for them in the middle order. This will be a problem against a side like Mumbai, who have been depending on their bowling a lot. If they can dismiss Gayle early, it might be an early night for Punjab.
Ankit Rajpoot took the first fifer of the season in his last game, showcasing some massive potential as the youngster conceded only 14 in his quota. Rahman and Tye have remained economical throughout, the former being the most underrated revelation of this years edition. As a whole, the attack has been expensive with the likes of Sran and Ashwin being culprits in recent games. They have been part of a few low scoring matches recently, but Indore promises to be another high scoring wicket. Punjab have the lineup, and the Universe Boss to counter Mumbai’s versatile attack, but if Mumbai are reliant on their top four, Punjab just have their top two.
Fantasy Picks: Chris Gayle and KL Rahul are the obvious picks from this team. Rahman is another obvious choice, while Rajpoot could be an x-factor this game after his performance in the last game. Ashwin too is always amongst the wickets, completing five players from Punjab.
Mumbai win. MI can exploit Punjab’s middle order woes with their bowling, and if they do, it will be interesting to see how KXIP cope.
Can Mumbai pick up a much-needed win, or will the Kings XI Punjab prove too strong? Let us know in the comments and poll below.