Tonight’s game between the KXIP and MI, is, for the former, game of redemption, whereas for the latter, it is the game of building on the momentum gathered in the previous four games. While KXIP, led by the Big Show Glenn Maxwell, started off wonderfully winning their first two games and then lost three in a row, the Mumbai Indians lost their opening game against the Rising Pune Supergiant, but won the next four and are off to an unprecedented start to the tournament.
While Punjab will try to draw positives from the nail-biter against SRH, the Mumbai Indians will look to building upon the momentum gained early in the tournament. While KXIP will try to put early pressure by attacking with spin in the powerplay, something Mumbai Indians haven’t enjoyed, the Mumbai Indians will try to grapple and bring down the fantastic four as early as possible. If the fantastic four fail, Vohra alone cannot carry the weight of the Team, as was evident in their game against Hyderabad.
Both Teams must surely have done their homework and we are sure a thrilling contest is in store. Below, we are pointing out five player battles to look forward to today:
1. Manan Vohra vs Lasith Malinga:
A lot has already been said and written about Manan Vohra’s spectacular knock against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and we are sure Mumbai must have done their homework. To stop the Vohra juggernaut, we don’t think MI have anyone better than Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan slinger who when on song, looks like he’s literally hurling fire. With his impeccable yorkers, he can give any top-bracket batsman a serious run for his money. With Vohra in sizzling form, it’ll be a great contest.
2. Glenn Maxwell vs Harbhajan Singh:
Glenn Maxwell, the Big Show from Australia, might have had ordinary last couple of outings, but the Cricketing world knows how quickly can he get back into the groove and once he does, he can literally drive you out of the game in a matter of minutes, such destructive and impactful is his batting. Even if Maxwell hasn’t scored in the last couple of games, he has still looked great as a Captain and this responsibility might just yield him the right balance ahead of today’s game. Who better than Harbhajan Singh to tame the big lion! Bhajji, even if he hasn’t played too much of international Cricket, has an intrinsic Cricket brain and on his day, he can fox any batsman in the World.
3. Jasprit Bumrah vs DaviMiller:
Among the 30 batsmen who have faced at least 65 balls in this IPL, David Miller has the least strike-rate, 103.75. This is uncharacteristic of the South African southpaw, who is known for his attacking instinct. With Guptill and Shaun Marsh close to completing their recoveries, Miller will be desperate to make a statement to safeguard his place in the side. Bumrah has, over the last year or so, developed a reputation of being a great death bowler. With Miller mostly coming to bat lower, he’ll have to counter Bumrah’s shrilling yorkers and back-of-a-length deliveries.
4. Rohit Sharma vs Axar Patel :
While Rohit Sharma has always been a wonderful player of spin, he has surprisingly struggled against spin in this tournament, getting out to spin four times in four innings, scoring a paltry 13 off the 21 deliveries he has faced from spinners in those four games. This must surely be playing on Rohit’s mind, and Maxwell must surely have done his homework. He will, or must, attack Rohit right away with Axar, a slow left-arm whose natural delivery is the one that goes away from the right-hander. With Rohit Sharma just about getting back in the groove with a handy 40 off 29 in the last game, it’ll be a great contest to watch as Maxwell will like to believe that Sharma will be susceptible to spin early in the innings.
5. Nitish Rana vs KC Cariappa :
Maxwell will, or should ask Cariappa to bowl off-spin, a ball that will go away from the southpaw, Mumbai’s batting mainstay in the tournament. Moreover, Rana has now been promoted up the order. Even batting at no.4, Rana walked into bat almost every time during the powerplay, mostly because of Rohit’s failures. Now that he has been promoted, he’ll most likely walk in during the power play and Mumbai Indians haven’t had a great record this season against spin during the power play. Mumbai have scored only 26 runs off the 42 deliveries they’ve faced against spinners in powerplay. Maxwell will have this in ming and will ask Cariappa to bowl the off-spinner more than the carrom ball and try and trouble Rana early in the innings.