The Mumbai Indians (MI) take on the Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday (April 23). Both teams are coming off losses and will be keen to get back to winning ways.
PBKS, after losing three on the trot, are languishing at the bottom of the table with just one win from four games. Their bowling unit has failed to click this season
MI will, therefore, look to exploit the hapless Punjab bowling attack again. This match also serves as the perfect platform for the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan to consolidate their position in the middle order after a slow start to the new season.
Ahead of the key clash, let's take a look at the player matchups that are likely to determine the fate of the tie.
#1 KL Rahul vs Jasprit Bumrah
Bumrah has had a rather quiet IPL, with just four wickets from four matches. However, his economy has been at its best; the right-arm fast bowler is giving away just 6.25 runs per over this season.
KL Rahul has had a good time with the bat, scoring 161 runs from four games. However, his captaincy record has taken a hit and Rahul will want to channel the batting form into his leadership skills on the field.
A cracking contest between deadly accurate yorkers and flamboyant batting will be in the offing in Chennai as two of India's best players lock horns on Friday.
#2 MI's finisher Kieron Pollard vs Mohammed Shami
Kieron Pollard has struggled to get runs under his belt this season. The big West Indian has managed to score just 49 runs in four outings so far.
Mohammad Shami has blown hot and cold during the IPL and will want to reinvent his death-bowling form. His economy rate of 8.88 runs per over is expensive and needs improvement.
That being said, Shami's experience and ability to get wickets will be Punjab's best hope against Pollard's power hitting.
#3 Rahul Chahar vs Mayank Agarwal
Chahar's guile versus Agarwal's busy game will be an interesting matchup.
Agarwal has 105 runs from four games at an average of 26.25 and a strike rate of 145.83. He will look to anchor the innings for Punjab in an attempt to allow the likes of Rahul, Gayle and Pooran to play their shots.
However, Chahar has an uncanny knack for prising out the wickets of settled batsmen and that would make for a good contest should Agarwal settle down.