Just when it seemed like the Kings XI Punjab had lost their way, they bounced back with a win. After losing consecutive home matches, KXIP regained some lost ground with a comprehensive 6-wicket win against the Mumbai Indians and are now set to host the same opponents today at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. While the home side would be in an upbeat mood following the win, Mumbai, having lost back to back home fixtures, and will look to avenge the defeat and climb up the points table.
In the last game, KXIP’s batting finally came good in the tournament and made sure that the bowlers’ efforts didn’t go in vain. Though the confidence in the KXIP camp is high, the bad news for them is that regular skipper Adam Gilchrist is yet to recover from the hamstring injury and David Hussey will once again lead the side in his absence. Medium pacer Harmeet Singh might get back into the XI in place of left arm spinner Bharghav Bhatt and that should be the only change in the team for Punjab.
On the other hand, Mumbai, with three wins in six matches, have clearly under-performed in the tournament so far and the loss of injured paceman Lasith Malinga is hurting them big time. The team’s selection policy in the last game, where they picked just three foreign players, also drew criticism from most quarters and was touted as the main reason for the imbalance created. With seamer friendly conditions expected in Mohali, Clint McKay should make it to the playing XI at the expense of Pragyan Ojha.
Past matches have proved that for a bowler willing to bend his back, there is some purchase from the track and with rains predicted by the meteorological department, things might become a touch difficult for the batsmen.
Head to Head
The history suggests that the balance is tilted hugely in favor of the home side who, after Sunday’s win, having registered six wins in nine attempts against the men in blue.
Played – 9, KXIP – 6, MI – 3.
Players to watch out for:
Kings XI Punjab
Shaun Marsh: With 199 runs, he is the leading run scorer for KXIP and twice in this IPL he has helped his team go past targets with unbeaten half centuries. The left-hander has got better as the tournament progressed and after his man of the match performance in Mumbai, he will be the key again.
Piyush Chawla: The young leg spinner bowled a tidy spell in the last game and played a major role in restricting Mumbai Indians’ eventual total. He has had a string of good performances in the last few games and his side will look up to him to continue the good work.
David Hussey: The Australian did a very good job as a skipper in the absence of Adam Gilchrist and with the bat too played a vital knock in the middle order to stabilize the innings for his team. Though he hasn’t been able to finish things off for his side, Hussey, on a bouncy track, remains one of the trump player for his team.
Sachin Tendulkar: The maestro, who made a comeback from an injury in the last game, looked good in his innings of 23 before an error in judgement sent him packing. After celebrating his birthday on Tuesday, Tendulkar will be eager to get back onto the field and prove that for him 39 is just another number.
Rohit Sharma: The Mumbai lad’s talent has never been a doubt, but his performance on the field has at times left much to be desired. After getting out to a rash shot against Punjab in Mumbai, he will be looking to make amends. With the track is expected to offer some assistance to the bowlers, the gifted batsman’s innings becomes all the more important.
Kieron Pollard: Apart from the belligerent half century against the Rajasthan Royals, it has been Pollard the bowler rather than Pollard the batsman who has hogged more limelight. While the team would dearly want the Trinidadian to get back to his big hitting ways, his medium pacers in the conducive conditions in Mohali might be decisive.
After the six wicket win last Sunday, Kings XI Punjab have the momentum with them but with the firepower and number of match winners Mumbai posses, the visitors will start as slight favorites today.