IPL 2018, KXIP vs MI: 5 player battles to look forward to
The defending champions are now staring at an exit in this year’s IPL and if they lose tonight against the Kings XI Punjab at Indore, then MI’s fate would be sealed. On the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin’s team have played superbly so far, winning 5 out of 7 games, and would like to carry on their good work after coming back from a relatively long break.
KXIP’s star opener Chris Gayle should also be back after a layoff and that poses another headache for the MI thinktank. MI need to be at their very best from now on and that is why this game has all the makings of a classic. Ultimately, the game will be decided by some of the individual battles that will take place tonight and here is a look at 5 of the most important ones.
#5 Ravichandran Ashwin v Ishan Kishan
The MI wicketkeeper-batsman has been an excellent addition to the top order and his enterprising hitting at number 3 has been one of the big positives for the team. That being said, he has not been able to score big runs yet and an average of 21.57 is perhaps not a true reflection of his talent. He is striking at 139.81 and that is the 2nd highest strike rate among MI players (minimum 70 balls faced).
With Evin Lewis a doubt for the game, Kishan would need to do the job of the top order dasher and his duel against KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin is going to be a fascinating watch. The ‘new’ Ashwin, the one who nowadays slips in the conventional leg-break is a different kettle of fish and his economy rate of 8 an over in 7 games is ample proof that he is a much-improved bowler in T20 cricket. Kishan has not often been too comfortable hitting against spin so far and that is why this battle promises to be such an exciting one. It is a pivotal duel and one that could decide MI’s fortunes.