IPL 2018, KXIP vs MI Preview: Desperate Mumbai Indians seek solutions in KXIP’s adopted home

Mumbai Indians face a strong possibility of an early exit from the Indian Premier League with Kings XI Punjab the upcoming opposition. MI would hope to sort out their woes at the start with the bat and the ball when they travel to Holkar Stadium in Indore. The three-time champions are in miserable run of form having won two matches out of eight and sit bottom of the IPL table.

At the other end of the spectrum, Kings XI Punjab have looked good thus far in the tournament with five wins out of eight. Defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad ended their streak of four consecutive wins. Now, they switch their home base to Indore after a week’s break to pick up from where they left off. Under R Ashwin’s leadership, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul would hope that the break would have recharged their batteries to go all out once again. The pairing at the top have contributed with 252 runs (Gayle) and 268 runs (KL Rahul). Gayle, not picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore despite early promise, has scored two half centuries while Rahul blazed away for fastest 50 in IPL.

Afghanistan’s rookie mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman, having picked up seven wickets at an economy rate of 6.51, has been KXIP’s key component in the bowling attack. Among the seamers, Ankit Rajpoot (7 wickets at 6.27) and Andrew Tye (9 wickets at 7.78) have done the job for the Preity Zinta co-owned franchise.

Mumbai Indians, their start has been a reason for concern – both in batting and bowling. With the bat, Suryakumar Yadav, with 283 runs from eight games, has taken the opportunity of being promoted to the top of the order with both hands. But same cannot be said for his partner Evin Lewis (194 in 7 games) who has struggled and fell cheaply on multiple occasions. To accommodate Suryakumar as an opener, Rohit Sharma (196 in 8 matches) has shuffled his own batting position but that has resulted in inconsistency affecting Mumbai Indians. The opening stands in eight games have thus far been: 7, 11, 102, 0, 1, 12, 69, 5.

In the middle of the order, all-rounders Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya haven’t chipped in as the team would have liked. With Pollard not fit enough to bowl, his contribution of 76 runs in six innings has been a reason for concern. Pandya has been inconsistent with 111 runs, including a battling 50 in the last game along with 11 wickets.

MI have been guilty of giving away too many runs in the powerplay overs. Left-arm pacers Mustafizur Rahaman (7 wickets) and Mitchell McLenaghan (9 wickets) have both been expensive with unimpressive economy rates of 8.34 and 8.66 respectively.

For Mumbai, the silver lining has been the emergence of young leg-spinner Mayank Markande (11 wickets). The teenager hasn’t buckled under pressure even when playing against the biggest names in world cricket. But with pressure mounting, MI need to produce the goods and do it soon to harbour any hopes of making the Playoffs.

Team news:

Kings XI Punjab: Barinder Sran has been expensive in his last few outings and KXIP might consider bringing back Mohit Sharma for the left-arm pacer. They could also look at strengthening the middle order by including David Miller in place of Finch, who has had a poor IPL so far.

Probable XI: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, David Miller, R Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis’s fitness status is still unknown although Aditya Tare stated that “he had an injection and he should be fine.” If the West Indian has made sufficient recovery from his wrist injury ahead of the game, he is likely to come back into the eleven at the expense of Kieron Pollard, who has looked off colour in this IPL.

Probable XI: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis/Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan (wk), Rohit Sharma, JP Duminy, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande.

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