Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will look to bounce back to winning ways when they face off against KL Rahul's Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the 12th match of IPL 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
MI will be hurting after finishing on the losing side of the thrilling Super Over clash against RCB in their last match, despite heroics from Ishan Kishan (58-ball 99) and West Indian all-rounder, Keiron Pollard (24-ball 60).
Kishan and Pollard almost pulled off a miraculous run-chase as they scored 89 runs off the final five overs, but with five runs to get off the final delivery, Pollard pulled a short ball from Isuru Udana to the square leg boundary.
A terrific Super Over from Navdeep Saini saw MI manage just 7/1 from their six deliveries, and in the end, with one run needed off the final delivery, Virat Kohli flicked a full toss from Jasprit Bumrah for four to trigger wild celebrations in the RCB camp.
KXIP, on the other hand, have only themselves to blame, having lost their previous match against the Rajasthan Royals from a position where they should have romped home comfortably. With 51 runs needed off the final three overs for RR to win, Sheldon Cottrell was carted for five sixes in the 18th over by Rahul Tewatia, reducing the equation to 21 off the last 12 balls.
Tewatia's journey from zero to hero in just one over was the talk of the town as the southpaw's 31-ball 53 eventually helped the Royals scale down the 224-run target set by KXIP.
MI and KXIP are currently placed 5th and 6th on the points table, with one win and two losses each from their three league stage encounters so far.
With a win for each side certain to see them leapfrog to the top of the IPL 2020 points table, expect a thrilling Mumbai v Punjab match on the cards today.
IPL 2020: MI v KXIP Match Prediction
When one looks at KXIP's success in this IPL 2020 season, it's no secret that they've rode on stellar performances from the opening duo of Rahul and Agarwal.
The dynamic openers have combined to score 443 runs out of the 586 runs amassed by KXIP in their three matches in IPL 2020, a little more than 75% of the cumulative runs scored by the entire team.
The middle order has hardly got a chance to get in and get a feel of the conditions, with Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran, Karun Nair and Sarfaraz Khan facing a combined total of 71 balls in the three games played by KXIP so far.
This could prove to be a real issue for KXIP, if one considers the fact that Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and James Pattinson are capable of causing quite a few issues up front.
Granted, neither of these bowlers have looked threatening, but they're all world-class, and one ball could do the trick on the day. If either of the three MI pacers manage to snaffle the prized scalp of one of these two openers early on, it could change the dynamics of what the KXIP middle order has to offer.
On the bowling front, Sheldon Cottrell was taken to the cleaners against RR, but with the longer boundaries in Abu Dhabi offering more for the bowlers, the West Indian pacer will be banked on to strike early for his side.
Given MI's batting order which stretches all the way until Krunal Pandya at No.7, Mohammed Shami's form will be crucial. The speedster looked off-colour against RR, and he will need to be at his best to pick up some early breakthroughs to put pressure on the MI batting unit.
As for MI, they've already played two matches at Abu Dhabi and that could hold them in good stead ahead of this clash against KXIP. While the inability of the spinners to pick up wickets could be a matter of concern, the depth in their batting and bowling resources could see them have the wood over their opponents for today.
Prediction: MI to win today.Published 01 Oct 2020, 10:00 IST