Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Mumbai Indians (MI) can count themselves a bit unlucky as both teams have lost a match each in the Super Over. However, there is one major difference between these two sides.
While MI eventually lost the Super Over encounter against RCB, after mostly lagging behind in that game, KXIP looked clueless in the Super over against DC, despite playing magnificently throughout the first match. No team has won three games in a row this season, but Punjab could have easily done that with just a bit of luck on their side.
Batting edge with Mumbai
The Orange cap (222 runs in 3 matches) is with KXIP captain KL Rahul. So is the highest score by an individual (unbeaten 132) this season. Mumbai will be especially worried with Rahul’s form as his recent record against them is not only very good but they have failed to get him out in two of the last three innings.
Rahul’s figures in these matches were 94, 71* and 100*. “We know he's a dynamic player, scores all around the field. But we will have specific ideas of how we’re going to get him out,” said Mumbai Indians’ bowling coach Shane Bond.
Rahul’s opening partner Mayank Agarwal has got the most points (98.5) in the most valuable players list in IPL.com. Yet, MI, with Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock as rival openers, can easily match the Karnataka duo. And even if they fail, they have got the likes of Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya who are capable enough of rescue acts from any situation.
The same can’t be said about the Punjab batting whose 76 percent runs of this season have been scored by their openers only. Can the trio of Nair-Maxwell-Pooran play an exceptional innings which can match their counterparts in the middle order?
“We've got a quality bowling unit, so we just got to put pressure on him (Rahul) and Mayank, who have been the two key batters for Kings XI, (they've) played brilliantly so far. So if we can create some pressure and get those boys early and put a little bit more pressure on that middle order early, hopefully we can restrict them to a score or stop them scoring runs we have on the board,” said former New Zealand pacer Bond, ahead of the match in Abu Dhabi.
Overseas Left-Indian right pace battle
West Indian left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell was having a great tournament until he got hit for 5 sixes by Rahul Tewatia in that crazy over against Rajasthan Royals. Like Cottrell, Mumbai Indians’ left arm pacer Trent Boult, too, has got five wickets so far in the tournament but with a better economy rate (7.67) than Cottrell’s (9.30).
Boult’s new ball partner Jasprit Bumrah is already an IPL legend, but this season, his senior India bowler Mohammed Shami has got better numbers so far despite a poor game against Royals. While Bumrah has managed to take only 3 wickets (9.75 economy rate), Shami (7 wickets at an economy rate of 7.45) was also the holder of the Purple cap a few days ago.
Can Shami outsmart Bumrah, whose overall best figure in IPL (average of 20.3 and economy rate of 6.5) is against Punjab?
Likely XI (Mumbai Indians): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.
Likely XI (Kings XI Punjab): 1 KL Rahul (capt & wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Karun Nair, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 James Neesham, 7 Sarfaraz Khan, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 M Ashwin, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Mohammed Shami.
(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here