MI will hope to get back to winning ways © BCCI
Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab could not have had a more contrasting start to their campaign, and yet, here they are on a collision path as the race for playoffs heats up. Mumbai’s annual late-resurgence was halted by Rajasthan Royals on Sunday but in their last home game, at the Wankhede on Wednesday (May 16), the home side would be keen to pile on more misery on a troubled KXIP side, that’s on a three-match losing streak, and press their claim for the knockouts berth.
For Kings XI, it has been a season of two halves. Labelled ‘underachieves’, KXIP stunned one and all by notching up five wins in their first six games to make home in the top-half of the points table, and then lost five of the next six to squander their advantage and drop down into the unfavorable half. KXIP have been stuttering due to their over reliance on the openers – KL Rahul and Chris Gayle – and a flimsy middle order has only put the top-of-the-order duo under more pressure. Rahul, who is the second-highest run-scorer of the season so far, has already carried his bat through twice but with little support from the middle order, KXIP have slipped steadily.
Their most recent defeat – a 10-wicket drubbing at home at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore – has thrown the table wide open and handed Mumbai a lifeline even before taking field against them. Now for the hosts to exploit it to the fullest.
A win on Wednesday will propel MI straight into the fourth slot, courtesy their NRR advantage over all the seven other teams in the competition, and from there, MI will fancy a win against Delhi Daredevils to consolidate their spot in the top-half. However, they also have a fickle batting line-up to overcome, apart from their death bowling woes. JP Duminy at #8 is a resource wasted while a handful of those above him haven’t shown a reliable face with the bat, while skipper Rohit Sharma’s lean run has been MI’s biggest bane this season. A promotion for Duminy up the order could maybe lend the stability that MI seek in order to build on the starts their openers provide.
When: Wednesday, May 16 at 8 PM IST
Where: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
What to expect: A typical Mumbai evening, weather-wise. The pitch sported a fair tinge of green until the eve of the game. The dew makes an appearance as the evening progresses and that’s made chasing a preference of the captains winning the toss here.
Mumbai Indians: MI should stay with the same XI despite the slip up in the last game.
Probable XI: Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, JP Duminy, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah.
Kings XI Punjab: There is no update on Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s wrist injury that kept him out of KXIP’s last game, against RCB. Marcus Stoinis could make way again if Mujeeb is fit to play.
Probable XI: Lokesh Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis/Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma/Barinder Sran, Ankit Rajpoot.
Head to Head of teams
MI 11 – 10 KXIP
Team Record at Wankhede
MI 3 – 4 KXIP
Hardik Pandya vs spin: Hardik has a SR of 136.80 against pace but has got out seven times (Avg 24.42). In comparison, he strikes at only 114.28 against spin but hasn’t been dismissed by a spinner yet.
Chris Gayle vs MI: Gayle has scored 519 runs in 14 innings against MI at 43.25 (SR 128.78).
Wankhede has been the best venue for pacers this IPL in terms of economy rate – 8.26. Pacers have taken 31 wickets at 25.26 with a wicket every 18.35 balls.
IPL 2018 trends
13 MI batsman have been dismissed for a duck this IPL – the most for a side. Nine of them were dismissed off the first ball – Rohit Sharma thrice and Ishan Kishan twice.
KXIP have the worst run rate in the middle overs this IPL – 7.55. They have lost most wickets in this phase – 36 – and possess the lowest average of 21.83.
What they said
“It is an important stage for us. We know that if we win two games, we will make it. We have been in this situation before. We are just positive and we want to be fearless, that’s what the thinking is. The major thing is that we haven’t been up to the mark at the Wankhede. This franchise has always been very tough to beat at the Wankhede, but unfortunately we haven’t been as strong at home this year, that’s the only worry for me” – Aditya Tare on the mood in the camp.