Five-time champions Mumbai Indians' class and pedigree will once again be tested when they take on an unpredictable Punjab Kings in a crucial Indian Premier League match here on Wednesday
Punjab Kings Pic:AFP
A win will give MI the much-needed push on the points table, while a loss will see them slip further and chart a familiar course like the previous edition. MI had finished 10th and last in the previous edition.
The Mumbai team is currently placed seventh with eight points from eight matches and things are not looking great for Rohit Sharma's side.
The win against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium on April 30, though, would have instilled a fair bit of confidence in the MI team after it chased down a massive 212 with three balls to spare to earn two valuable points.
The win was crafted by Singapore-born Australian cricketer Tim David, who smashed three sixes on the trot in the final over during his 14-ball unbeaten 45 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
While there were vital contributions from India's T20 specialist batter Suryakumar Yadav (55), tall Australian all-rounder Cameron Green (44), Ishan Kishan (28) and Tilak Varma (29 not out), none could match the ferocity of David's strokes.
The 27-year-old middle-order batter smashed five sixes and two boundaries at a strike rate in excess of 300 as Mumbai Indians won on home turf.
A similar commitment would be required against Punjab Kings, who are known to play aggressive cricket, though their biggest drawback is an unreliable top order.
Barring Shikhar Dhawan and to an extent his opening partner Prabhsimran Singh, very few PBKS batters have contributed enough to their overall totals, though all that changed in their previous game against Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk on April 30.
Set a stiff 200-run target by MS Dhoni's side, the entire top and middle-order came to the party to win a last-ball thriller by four wickets. With Prabhsimran and Dhawan laying a good foundation in powerplay, England all-rounder Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran and wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma all chipped in to make it a memorable chase.
The team, though, will likely have to face the fiery pace of Mumbai Indians' Jofra Archer, who was back in the game against Rajasthan Royals, bowling his quota of overs and taking a wicket as well.
MI skipper Rohit's form, though, is the biggest concern for the five-time IPL champions and much would depend on the India captain on Wednesday to shore up his side, after contributing just three runs in the match against the Royals.
The Teams (From):
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Rahul Chahar, Sam Curran, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Ellis, Gurnoor Brar, Harpreet Brar, Harpreet Singh, Vidwath Kaverappa, Liam Livingstone, Mohit Rathee, Prabhsimran Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, M Shahrukh Khan, Jitesh Sharma, Shivam Singh, Matthew Short, Sikandar Raza, Atharva Taide.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Jofra Archer, Arshad Khan, Jason Behrendorff,
Dewald Brevis, Piyush Chawla, Tim David, Raghav Goyal, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan,
Duan Jansen, Chris Jordan, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Hrithik Shokeen, Tristan Stubbs, Arjun Tendulkar, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera, Suryakumar Yadav.
Match Starts at 7:30pm.
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