The points table explains the context of this match-two struggling team in search of gathering some momentum. Kings XI Punjab are bottom dwellers, with just a win from five matches. Mumbai India’s plight is only marginally better-four points from six games. Whoever wins the match may not gather a vicious tempo, but whoever loses will most likely go down the drain. On paper, Mumbai are the perceptible favourites-but this is rather a reflection of how poorly Punjab have played this term. (Fixtures | Squads)
Mumbai have the ammo befitting the defending champions. But somehow they have messed up the plot. Rohit Sharma has looked in sumptuous form, and he was the definitive influence behind both their wins, but against Delhi Daredevils he turned scratchy midway through the innings. And apart from Krunal Pandya, no other batsman has been giving him support on a consistent basis.
Kings XI Punjab’s litany of batting implosions paints an even grimmer picture. So far, only three of them have managed half centuries and two of them had come in the only match they had won, against Rising Pune Supergiants. Shaun Marsh has been their lone consistent figure. Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra less so. Glenn Maxwell has been largely uninfluential. But it’s the form of the skipper David Miller that would worry them the most-in five matches he has managed 46 runs at an average of 9.20.
When the tournament began, they had one of most effective set of bowlers around. But they lost their talisman Lasith Malinga to an injury and Harbhajan Singh to poor form (three wickets at an economy of 8.72 in six matches). Hardik has added little value, Bumrah’s death-over accuracy has waned. Pollard has lost his cutting edge. Too much load seems to have taken a toll on Mitchell McClenagaghan. As in batting, only left-arm spinner Krunal has punched above his weight.
The bowlers of Kings XI Punjab cut a sorrier picture. There are pressing concerns in the pace bowling department. Mitchell Johnson was dropped after two matches, after he had leaked nine an over while taking just a wicket. Kyle Abbott and Marcus Stoinis have conceded 10.40 and 13.50 apiece. The Sharmas-Mohit and Sandeep-in comparison had better tournaments, at least in terms of economy. Compounding Miller’s woes, the spinners aren’t any penetrative either.
News from the bench
It would be interesting to see whether they’ll dislodge Parthiv Patel. Jos Buttler too is an efficient keeper and there are free-striking batsmen like Unmukt Chand warming the benches. They’ll also be tempted to insert all-rounder Corey Anderson, which if it happens will be at the expense of compatriot Tim Southee. Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, will mull on drafting in Armaan Jaffer.