The fortunes of these two teams could not be any different. With 14 points on the board, Mumbai Indians need just one more win from their five remaining matches to progress to the semi-finals. Kings XI Punjab, at the bottom of the points table, are all but out of contention for a final-four spot.
With all their departments firing – that collapse against Chennai was an aberration – and comfortably perched at the top of the table, Mumbai have no real concerns. A win against Punjab will guarantee a spot in the final four and with it an opportunity to give some of their players a rest from the remaining league games. Three of those are against teams in the top four, as well as a resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders, so sealing vital points against Punjab is imperative.
For a team that is yet to prove it can compete against the top sides, three of Punjab’s remaining games are against the most formidable outfits of the tournament – Mumbai, Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings. Punjab have been the worst fielding side, the batting has been inconsistent, and their problems have been exacerbated by the failure of their bowlers, who have taken just four wickets in the last two matches. Despite trying several combinations, Punjab’s woes have continued and their only incentive to win is to boost their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon.
Form guide (most recent first)
Kings XI Punjab LWLLL
Mumbai Indians LWWWW
With R Sathish having little impact, his omission could be one of the changes in Mumbai’s XI. The man to step in could be Abhishek Nayar or Aditya Tare, the team’s primary wicketkeeper. Ambati Rayudu, in that role, has had trouble keeping to genuine fast bowlers. Zaheer Khan, who was rested against Chennai as a precautionary measure because of a swollen knee, is likely to return, as is Sachin Tendulkar, who suffered from dehydration in Chennai.
Punjab have been chopping and changing their XI regularly but the results haven’t been significant. Juan Theron and Sreesanth were drafted back in for the last game but both bled runs, so Brett Lee could get another look-in despite his inability to manage a wicket in three games. Shaun Marsh is fit for selection and he could replace Ravi Bopara.
Punjab 3 Mumbai 2
In 2008, Punjab won the first ever encounter between the two teams by 66 runs and then clinched a thriller =[0in Mumbai by one run. In their first meeting last year , in Durban, Yusuf Abdulla helped Punjab win a last-over thriller. Mumbai then fought back with an easy eight-wicket win in Centurion. In 2010, Mumbai won a close match at home.
In the spotlight
Sachin Tendulkar has spoilt the Mumbai crowd with his spectacular batting and the PCA Stadium will expect nothing else. His team has no more home games, so continuing his form is key to Mumbai sealing a semi-final berth.
Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard: The West Indian stars were disasters with the bat during the loss against Chennai when a lot was expected of them. Bravo is a floater in the batting line-up but so far it seems he’s in the team primarily for his bowling. Pollard’s place in the line-up also hasn’t been settled but there’s a concern he’s being kept too low down. Against a side completely shorn of confidence, it may not be a bad idea to push this pair up and get their mojo going.
Piyush Chawla: Just why he has been picked to go to the West Indies as part of India’s World Twenty20 squad is lost on many, because Chawla only has five wickets from ten games as compared to the 14 Delhi’s Amit Mishra has from as many outings at a far better economy and strike-rate. Chawla came in for heavy praise after the first IPL from Kumar Sangakkara but this season he’s not even been remotely dangerous.
* The fact that Irfan Pathan (204) has outscored both Kumar Sangakkara (183) and Yuvraj Singh (198) this season highlights their lack of contributions to the team.
* Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga are all tied on 11 wickets – leaving them joint No. 4 on the list of highest wicket-takers.
Image Source: Cricinfo
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, April 9th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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