Kings XI Punjab’s opening two games of the Indian Premier League season have seen aspects which are not usual scenes in a cricket game. In the first, R Ashwin dismissed Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler with a ‘Mankading’ run out – an act which has been deemed to be against the spirit of the game by many. In fact, MCC first backed Ashwin’s move but then did a U-turn on their stance.
In the second game against Kolkata Knight Riders, KXIP didn’t place four fielders inside the ring and were made to pay. Andre Russell was dismissed on the errant delivery and he went on to play a key role in KKR’s win. KXIP will now hope to have a ‘clean’ game when they play their first home game of the season against Mumbai Indians.
MI began their IPL campaign with a demoralising loss against Delhi Capitals. In their second game, away to Royal Challengers Bangalore, there was controversy involving them, too. In a tense contest going to the final over, Lasith Malinga overstepped on the final delivery but it was not given by the on-field umpires which resulted in a close six run win for MI.
In the first game of the season, ‘Universe Boss’ KXIP’s opener Chris Gayle emerged in prime form as he blasted 79 off just 47 balls while Sarfaraz Khan remained unbeaten on 46 off 29, giving the Ashwin-led side a boost in the batting department. Fellow opener KL Rahul hasn’t hit the mark just yet. In the first two games he’s managed just five runs and he will be hoping to get back to his best in Mohali.
For Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma (48 of 33) and Hardik Pandya’s 14-ball 32 stood out against RCB as they set up a massive 188 run target for Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the chase, MI were almost swept aside by AB de Villiers but for late, impressive bowling by Jasprit Bumrah and the luck factor courtesy Malinga’s no ball.
Yuvraj Singh, who got the season underway by hitting a confident half-century against Delhi Capitals and managing 23 against RCB, will be eager to continue his run getting in Mohali – his ‘home ground’.
Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (capt), Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Mayank Agrawal, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and David Miller, Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Sarfaraz Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mandeep Singh, Simran Singh.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan, Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Quinton de Kock.
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