Get ready to witness one of the most epic struggles in IPL history for a handful of teams vying for a spot in this season’s playoffs. It’s amazing that third position all the way down to seventh on the points table are still in contention to secure a top four spot, Kings XI are barely hanging by a thread whilst Mumbai’s three-consecutive victories has kept them in with a glimmer of hope.
It’s the out of form Kings XI Punjab up against an inspired Mumbai Indians, form would suggest Mumbai are the slight-favourites heading into tomorrow’s match despite sitting one spot lower than their opposition. Form means very-little in these instances though, if Kings XI’s batting unit gets a grasp on the conditions it could very-well be curtains for Mumbai in IPL 11 given they’re still one game behind Punjab. Suryakumar Yadav is easily Mumbai’s form batsman of the competition, his move up the order almost prompting a turnaround in fortunes for skipper Rohit Sharma who continues to struggle in a time of desperate need. Back to Yadav though, the right-hander is averaging 39.41 from his 12 outings in 2018 and has been the team’s most promising prospect with the willow, his consistency has been on another level compared to the rest of his teammates. That’s probably where Mumbai have fallen on their sword this season, the likes of Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya have been prolific in some matches, but relatively quiet in others. Even skipper Rohit Sharma has smashed out some big scores against the Royal Challengers and Super Kings, apart from that he’s been a liability which is unlike the Indian opener. The big question in this match is, can one of their big name players stand up in a must-win game? All-rounder Hardik Pandya appears to be leading by example with the ball as well, claiming 10 wickets in Mumbai’s past five matches. Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan have been good for one wicket a game along with spinner Mayank Markande, but it’s not the sort of stat you can fall back on as a team if you’re in desperate need of wickets. If Chris Gayle, KL Rahul and Aaron Finch get a hold of Mumbai’s attack early, they could be in some serious trouble.
The playoffs can’t come quick enough for Kings XI Punjab, they’re in a complete crisis as they continue to fall to pieces nearing the end of the tournament. With just one win coming from their last five matches, Ravi Ashwin and his men are on the verge of imploding if they don’t break the drought tomorrow night in Mumbai. The danger signs have been ominous for quite some time now, but that 10-wicket defeat against RCB just about confirmed that Punjab are having a full-blown meltdown with simply no explanation for it. At this point in time, both Kings XI opening batsmen KL Rahul and Chris Gayle remain their only hope of influencing a win in a side that basically looks sapped of confidence. KL Rahul is coming off a three-match streak of fifties while his partner Chris Gayle has significantly fallen away in form since his return last month, but compared to the rest of Punjab’s batting line-up, Gayle is the least of their problems. Mayank Agarwal’s putrid-form with the bat can’t be avoided any longer, he’s played all but one match in IPL 11 and is averaging just 12 which must result in Yuvraj Singh coming back into the side, his form isn’t much better but he deserves redemption just like Agarwal. South African hitting-supremo David Miller might also come into the conversation, he’s been unfairly dealt with this season having played just the two games as one of Punjab’s biggest X factors. From a bowling perspective, they’ll be hoping to regain Afghani spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman who injured his bowling hand against the Knight Riders last Saturday. Both he and Australian medium pacer Andrew Tye have been Kings XI’s most impressive bowlers in 2018, collectively taking an impressive 34 wickets in what has been a two-man show from the pair. If I was a Kings XI fan, I’d have a very upset stomach watching tomorrow night’s match, they look completely out of sync as a team and have shown no signs of improvement….fingers crossed they can turn it around.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Mumbai Indians | 50th match | Mumbai
- Hardik Pandya
- Suryakumar Yadav
- Ishan Kishan
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Rohit Sharma
Wildcard pick – Krunal Pandya
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kings XI Punjab | 50th match | Mumbai
- KL Rahul
- Andrew Tye
- Chris Gayle
- Aaron Finch
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Wildcard pick – Yuvraj Singh
Mumbai Indians (possible) – 1. Suryakumar Yadav 2. Evin Lewis 3. Rohit Sharma © 4. Ishan Kishan (wk) 5. Hardik Pandya 6. Krunal Pandya 7. JP Duminy/Kieron Pollard 8. Ben Cutting 9. Mitchell McClenaghan 10. Mayank Markande 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul (wk) 2. Chris Gayle 3. Aaron Finch 4. Karun Nair 5. Yuvraj Singh 6. Axar Patel 7. Ravi Ashwin © 8. Andrew Tye 9. Mohit Sharma 10. Ankit Rajpoot 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman.