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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||37||2||9.25|
Coming after almost a week-long break, the Kings from Punjab will take on Mumbai Indians at their home ground Indore. As far as the points table is concerned, they are in different boats altogether, but they have one thing in common - they both are coming into the game with a loss in their last match. Mumbai Indians have won just two out of eight games they've played and are just one loss away from the stage where they'll need to win all games and rely on other teams for their qualification. For Punjab, the matter is still largely in their hands and a win here will place them on par with the Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Both the teams will be fighting for different immediate goals, but one same ultimate goal - that is to win the title. Both the teams will be eyeing to get back to the winning ways and with both sides being batting heavy, a high scoring encounter is certainly on the cards.
Riding on the brilliance of Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul, Kings XI Punjab have looked almost opposite of what they looked like during the last edition. They strung together a series of some brilliant wins before they were stopped by a vibrant bowling performance by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Their loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad might just be a blessing in disguise as it could be an eye opener before the tournament moves into the business end. Chris Gayle and KL Rahul have accounted for all of their wins and their middle order has failed to fire whenever presented with an opportunity. Aaron Finch hasn't been able to convert the chances and we might well see Marcus Stonis given a go in this upcoming match.
Kings XI Punjab will be concerned about Mayank Agarwal's for and in the side. He occupies a crucial 1-down position and his continued failures to convert starts into match-defining innings is hurting their middle-order balance. Karun Nair has been their best batsman so far after Chris Gayle and KL Rahul and team management can consider to promote him to provide more firepower at the top of the order.
Good spinners are a rare commodity in T20 Cricket and Kings XI Punjab have a wide array of them. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, AJ Tye, and Ravichandran Ashwin form the backbone of their attack. Ankit Rajpoot has bowled well in the last couple of games and with a recent five-wicket haul, he will be oozing with confidence.
With Chris Gayle and KL Rahul firing at the top, it hasn't been surprising that the Kings are among the top teams of the IPL in this season. They still have a couple of problems with their middle order and they'd like to find the solutions to them before actually getting into the playoffs.
Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Y Singh, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, AJ Tye, AS Rajpoot, Mujib Ur Rahman.
One team's joy is other team's misery. This is what it's been like for Mumbai Indians in the IPL so far only that they've ended on the side of misery more often than not. Five of Mumbai's seven defeats have been decided in the last over which could have gone either way. Having said that, Mumbai Indians can still qualify for the playoffs, but they'd need to get going right away.
Besides an unconvincing and shoddy start to the tournament, the primary reason behind Mumbai Indians position is the absence of an all-around performance. They batted so beautifully one day that they scored 213 despite being two wickets down without even a run on the board. And then they failed to chase down 118 two games thereafter.
Mumbai Indians are struggling to find the right recipe required and the injury to Ewin Lewis has only aggravated their concern. While the top-order is expected to stay the same, we may well see Ben Cutting or Kieren Pollard being axed for a specialist bowler as he's just being wasted as a batsman at number seven.
Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, and Ishan Kishan have done well at the top and addition of JP Duminy have added to the depth in their squad, be it batting or bowling. Their bowling hasn't been as effective on the field as it looks on paper and with the kind of batting that they have to face on Friday, they have their task cut out.
SA Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, MJ Mcclenaghan, Mayank Markande, JJ Bumrah.
It's expected to be a batting paradise where it will be tough to determine a par score while batting first. Putting the opposition in after winning the toss will be the way to go at Indore.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Indore will be hosting its first match of the competition and this ground is known for its excellent batting wicket and a quick outfield. Spinners may have a role to play, but it will be a good wicket to bat on. A little uncertainty on how the pitch may behave and that, coupled with the trend of chasing in T20 matches will tempt captains to send the opponent in after winning the toss.
Irrespective of what happens on the match day, both Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab will be in contention for the playoffs. Mumbai Indians would then have to win all of their remaining games while Kings XI Punjab will be able to afford to take a little more time to get going once again. And still, there's a lot riding on the Friday's game for Mumbai Indians as a win here may well be a lifeline they're looking for. Kings XI Punjab, however, have been a better side in the tournament so far and with Gayle and Rahul in fine form, they are more likely to prevail in this all-important encounter.
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