IPL 2013 Preview: Kings XI Punjab in do or die situation against Mumbai Indians

Sachin Tendulkar’s injury opened the avenues for Aditya Tare (above) who vindicated his selection with an attacking half-century against the Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday © IANS

By Sarang Bhalerao

Dharamsala: May 17, 2013

Kings XI Punjab host the Mumbai Indians in a do or die encounter in the 69th match of the Indian Premier League at Dharamsala on Saturday.

The conditions are helpful for the seam bowlers at the start of the innings since the pitch is a lot more responsive than most of the other pitches in the competition. On Thursday the Delhi Daredevils fielded five pacers in their team to take advantage of the condition. But David Miller’s late order surge (44 off 24 deliveries) took the game away from the visitors who won a close encounter by seven runs. This emphasises one fact, once you get in shot making becomes easy. Adam Gilchrist too bode his time before taking on to the Delhi bowlers. His innings of 42 gave Punjab a solid base. Shaun Marsh has not struck form albeit he scored 45 off 44 balls against Delhi; Marsh needs to step up in the final league game. The experiment to send Azhar Mahmood at No 3 has worked wonders against Royal Challengers of Bangalore but against Delhi it failed. Punjab might get Mandeep Singh to bat one-down.

Punjab have Praveen Kumar and Sandeep Sharma – two of India’s best swing bowlers. Against Delhi the duo beat the batsmen in the air and reaped rewards. Sandeep in particular got the slips in play by inducing outside edge off David Warner. Azhar Mahmood did not find his length and went for 40 off his four overs. Piyush Chawla was the lone spinner in Thursday’s match who was taken for 44 off his four overs. Parvinder Awana bent his back and got an appreciable bounce against Delhi.

Mumbai Indians are the table-toppers at this point and would be looking to consolidate their position at the top with a win in their last league game. A win would ensure that Mumbai plays the game at the Feroz Shah Delhi on May 21 [an encounter between the first and second placed teams in the league]. That will give Mumbai two chances of qualifying for the final, even if they fail at the first shot.

At this point Mumbai has sweet selection headaches. Sachin Tendulkar’s injury opened the avenues for Aditya Tare who vindicated his selection with an attacking half-century (59 off 37 balls) against the Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see if he replaces Dinesh Karthik when Tendulkar comes back. Glenn Maxwell at the top of the order is a positive move. The Australian has shown inclination to take on the bowling right from the outset.  The middle-order did not click against Rajasthan but Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu are all match-winners and they will be gearing up for the playoffs. Against Punjab they would be looking to strike rich vein of form to get the much needed confidence as Mumbai marches for their maiden trophy triumph.

Mumbai’s bowling looks sorted. Dhawal Kulkarni has the ability to swing the ball which has made teams flounder. Mitchell Johnson has been a revelation with the new ball. Lasith Malinga continues to take the mantle of being the best T20 bowler in the world and he exhibits his dexterity whenever Mumbai needs him to. The spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha has been in form. Mumbai mightn’t want to tinker the winning combination hence Mumbai in all probability will go in with two spinners.

So expect an engrossing contest where a win shall give them massive gains for both the teams and a loss might hurt them big time. For Punjab a loss would mean disqualification whereas for Mumbai a loss might take them to third position after the league games which will be a severe jolt.

Teams:

Kings XI Punjab (Probable): Adam Gilchrist (c & wk), Shaun Marsh, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Azhar Mahmood, Rajagopal Sathish, Manan Vohra, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Parvinder Awana, Sandeep Sharma.

Mumbai Indians (Probable): Glenn Maxwell, Aditya Tare, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha, Dhawal Kulkarni.

Time: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)