PBKS are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, with their batsmen struggling to adapt to the Chepauk wicket. After playing at the batting-friendly Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the PBKS batsmen couldn’t adjust to the slow wicket and were bundled out for 120 in their last outing against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Although their bowlers put in a decent fight, SRH cruised to a nine-wicket win, courtesy of Jonny Bairstow’s gritty fifty.
It would be PBKS’ last game in Chennai before they move to Ahmedabad. KL Rahul and co. can go level on points with Mumbai Indians (MI) if they beat the defending champions tonight.
MI have blown hot and cold this season, struggling to show the same ruthlessness which saw them win two IPL titles on the trot. Although their bowlers did well to stretch the game into the final over, MI lost to the Delhi Capitals (DC) by six wickets in their last outing.
The defending champions failed to make the most of a solid powerplay start as the middle-order collapsed again. They limped to 137/9 but it was never going to be enough, as DC broke their four-match losing streak against MI to register a crucial win.
MI will move to Delhi after this game and the surface there is likely to be similar to the conditions in Chennai.
MI are slightly ahead when it comes to the head-to-head record between the two sides. They have won 14 games, while PBKS have emerged victorious 12 times.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs MI Match Prediction
Having made changes to the side in their last game, PBKS are likely to go with a similar team against MI. Chris Gayle is set to keep his place despite failing to go past the 15-run mark in each of his last three innings.
Nicholas Pooran may get another chance, and the explosive left-hander has a point to prove after registering his third duck of the season in Punjab's last game. PBKS’ call to keep Ravi Bishnoi out of their playing XI seems perplexing, with their second-highest wicket-taker from last season not being able to get a game.
Mohammed Shami will lead the charge against MI, with the Indian pacer having a superb record against Hardik Pandya. The fast bowler has dismissed Pandya thrice in 11 balls, and he will be tasked with keeping the all-rounder quiet at the death. Fans should see Murugan Ashwin early on, owing to Rohit Sharma’s leg-spin struggles, while the PBKS bowler has also dismissed Suryakumar Yadav twice in eight balls.
MI are likely to go with the same line-up, which means the pressure will be on their middle-order to come to the party. Ishan Kishan’s strike rate of 94.36 is the lowest for batsmen with a minimum of 50 balls faced in IPL 2021, and the Pandya brothers have failed to fire too. Rohit Sharma stressed the importance of making the most of the middle overs, and the captain would like to see an adequate response from his men.
With two left-handers in the top four, Jayant Yadav should keep his place in the side. His role in the powerplay becomes even more important, considering the form of the MI pacers at the start. The fast bowlers have picked up just one wicket in the powerplay overs in IPL 2021.
The toss has been a crucial facet of games in Chennai, with captains preferring to bat first. However, the last two games have been won by teams chasing with dew being a factor. It will be interesting to see what KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma choose to do if they win the toss on Friday.
PBKS looked out of sorts in their first game in Chennai and they have evident gaps in their side. Their overseas stars aren’t performing, which puts a lot of pressure on their opening pair to win them games.
MI wouldn’t be too worried even after losing to DC. They have won two games despite not being at their best, and they should be able to dispatch PBKS with ease.
Prediction: MI to win