Sailing in a similar boat, the Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab will take on each other in match number 13 of the Indian Premier League at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Both Mumbai and Punjab suffered defeats after coming tantalisingly close to winning in their previous games.
Chasing 202, Mumbai tied the pulsating encounter with the Royal Challengers Bangalore before going down in the Super Over. On the other hand, Kings XI Punjab lost despite posting a mammoth 223 on the board against the Rajasthan Royals, as the latter shattered the IPL record for the highest-ever chase.
Both sides will be keen to put their respective disappointments behind and start afresh.In the head-to-head, Mumbai have a slight edge over Punjab, having won 13 out of 24 games, with KXIP victorious in the other 11.
As the teams prepare to take on each other, we look at three player battles that could determine the outcome of the match.
#1. Rohit Sharma vs Mohammed Shami
MI skipper Rohit Sharma has had a mixed tournament so far. While he failed to get going against the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he was very much in his element in the game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, scoring a sublime 80 off 54 balls.
Sharma will not be worried about his form as he is eminently capable of turning things around. However, he will want to lead from the front and churn out a victory for Mumbai. Another loss would mean three defeats in four games for MI. Despite their legendary ability to bounce back in games, they will prefer not to be in that situation.
At the top of the innings, Sharma will be up against India teammate Mohammed Shami. The fast bowler has been Punjab’s best bowler by some margin. He was incredible in the match against the Delhi Capitals, claiming three wickets even as the team lost.
Shami also contributed handsomely in the victory over RCB with a superb spell. He did suffer at the hands of Rajasthan in what was an amazing chase. With the ability to bowl good slower balls and well-directed bouncers, Shami will look to get under the skin of his ODI vice-captain.
#2. Mayank Agarwal vs Trent Boult
With Jasprit Bumrah yet to hit the right notes this year, Mumbai will look to the in-form Trent Boult to deliver the goods again versus the in-form Punjab openers.
Mayank Agarwal has had a stupendous tournament so far. Ironically, both his excellent knocks in IPL 2020 have come in losing efforts. He smashed an incredible 89 off 60 against Delhi, and score a scintillating hundred against the Rajasthan Royals.
Agarwal’s clean-hitting has been the standout feature of his batting. Having said that, Agarwal will want his efforts to translate into victories.
Kiwi pacer Boult has held things together for Mumbai even as Bumrah and James Pattinson have been expensive. In three matches so far, he has claimed five wickets at an economy rate of under 8 and a strike rate of 13.60.
Boult’s wicket-taking ability has been an asset for Mumbai, and he will be keen to continue the good work. Boult will have a tough battle against an in-form Mayank Agarwal. However, he possesses the experience as well as the expertise to take on Agarwal.
#3. Glenn Maxwell vs Rahul Chahar
Unlike the form he displayed in the UAE back in 2014, Glenn Maxwell hasn’t quite set the tournament on fire yet. If anything, he has been out of sorts, playing ordinary strokes to be dismissed cheaply against Delhi and Bangalore.
Maxwell had an opportunity to make amends in the game versus Rajasthan and the stage was perfectly set for him following the exploits of openers Agarwal and skipper KL Rahul. However, the Big Show faltered again, managing only 13 off 9.
Maxwell, though, is always just a couple of big hits away from getting into his groove.
The attacking Aussie batsman could come up against young Mumbai leggie Rahul Chahar as both are likely to be in action towards the middle and end overs.
Chahar has impressed many with his attitude and ability to compete against the best. His efforts haven’t always been reflected in his numbers, but he has done enough to be earmarked as one for the future.
Bowling under tense circumstances, Chahar has so far kept his reputation intact, with four wickets in three games at an economy of under eight. Maxwell will look to attack him, and it remains to be seen how the youngster will react to the challenge.Published 01 Oct 2020, 18:42 IST