Things are getting really important in the Indian Premier League now and on Wednesday afternoon another huge clash in the competition takes place when the defending champions Mumbai Indians play host to the Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai go into the match knowing if they lose it they are out of the competition but if they can pick up the win their destiny will go into their final game. Despite hitting a block in the road recently the Kings XI can get back into a good position with a win here.
Just when it looked like the Mumbai Indians were cruising through to another season of recovery from a poor start and then cruise into the playoffs along came the Rajasthan Royals and halted their progress. Despite that they have the best run rate in the tournament and if they can find a pair of wins to end their campaign they will still be in the playoffs.
The Mumbai bowling attack let them down in that match against the Royals but it had been that which had got them back into this tournament. The attack combined with their big players standing up and being counted with the bat formed a winning combination, one they will hope to get back to in this match.
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI have gone completely the opposite way to the Mumbai Indians. They flew out of the blocks with a number of wins early in the campaign but recently they have lost five out of their last six and are now in danger of missing out on the postseason due to their dreadful run rate. It might be that they need to win both their last two matches to get through.
We saw the problem that the Kings XI currently have in a huge way in their previous match. Their batting below their opening pair just hasn’t got going at any stage and unless that changes in these next two matches then you fear for their long-term chances in this competition. On the flip side they have been going fairly well with the ball.
JP Duminy played in the last match for the Mumbai Indians but having batted down at number eight he might be moved on for a return for Kieron Pollard. He would offer more deep in the innings with the bat and a potential bowling option too.
Kings XI Punjab will hope that Mujeeb-ul-Rahman will be available from the blow he took on the hand a couple of matches ago. Something needs to happen to the batting line up and it might be that they employ a pinch hitter.
I like the Mumbai Indians in this match. Kings XI have been out of nick for a while but they were brutally exposed by an average Royal Challengers Bangalore side last time out which really doesn’t bode well. If their openers go early you sense they could crumble like a pack of cards once again.
Although Mumbai lost last time out they ran into an amazing knock from Jos Buttler but generally they are going well with the bat and the ball and that should serve them well here. I expect Mumbai to get back to winning ways in this one.
Given the issues that the Kings XI Punjab are having with the bat it might pay to see if the openers fall early again and someone down the order snatches the top bat honours. Axar Patel could be that man. He is a decent enough batsman and I wouldn’t actually be surprised if he is thrown up the order to get the scoring moving. Even if he isn’t it is only the openers who are scoring for Kings XI at the minute so the 20/1 on Patel top scoring could yield some profit.
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