KXIP take on MI   © AFP
KXIP take on MI © AFP

Match 34 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 will see Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) take on Mumbai Indians (MI). The match will be played at the Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore. This will be KXIP’s first ‘home’ game on this ground this season. MI have won the only IPL game at Indore, in 2017. This is also the first time these two sides are playing each other this season. In all they have clashed 20 times in IPL with both sides having won 10 each.

Under Ravichandran Ashwin, KXIP have looked a agile and unpredictable side — though at times they gave the feeling of being over-reliant on KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. Their Indian batting recruits, Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh and Karun Nair, need to step up. It will be interesting to see if Manoj Tiwary gets a game. Ankit Rajpoot’s ascendance as a strike bowler will definitely help the likes of Andrew Tyle, Ashwin and Mujeeb Zadran.

MI would be wary of their underperforming foreign players, but have enough Indian talent to compensate for them. Kieron Pollard remains their biggest problem: one of the perennial MI mainstays, he is yet to contribute with bat or ball this season, though his fielding remains top notch. MI’s bowling has taken a beating in the past few games, especially in the death overs, something they will need to overcome.

KXIP likely XI

KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Manoj Tiwary, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Barinder Sran, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

MI likely XI 

Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), JP Duminy, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah

Predictions 

The match at Indore will be a high scoring game, given the flatness of the pitch. Defending champions MI will be motivated by the fact that a loss will draw curtains to their playoff dreams.