Lendl Simmons has been in sparkling form for Mumbai Indians © IANS
Lendl Simmons has been in sparkling form for Mumbai Indians © IANS

 

By Shrikant Shankar

 

May 20, 2014

 

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) face a Mumbai Indians (MI) side, who are looking desperately to win all their matches to qualify for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 playoffs. Punjab are already through to the IPL 7 playoffs and are the in-form team this season. Mumbai have done well recently, but their five-loss start to the seasons has put them off course. The setting is at Punjab’s home ground, Mohali, and they will have an edge.

 

George Bailey’s side swept Delhi Daredevils in their previous match and booked their place in the IPL 7 playoffs. Their star players in Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and Bailey all failed to contribute significantly. But their strength-in-depth was highlighted as Akshar Patel came to the fore. Beuran Hendricks replaced Mitchell Johnson and took three wickets. Sandeep Sharma again impressed with the ball as he got another three-wicket haul.

 

Manan Vohra was exceptional at the top of the order and along with Virender Sehwag, he was involved in a good partnership. Punjab will like to make changes, but not wholesale, to give others a game. All the players will confident and they would genuinely believe that the team has a chance of winning the IPL. Mumbai are far from certain of making it to the playoffs. They lie in sixth position in the IPL 7 Points Table with eight points. They need another six points from the three remaining matches. Even if Mumbai do win all three, they would hope Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore don’t win theirs.

 

Clearly, things are out of their hand. But they would take confidence after their all-round show against Rajasthan Royals. Mumbai batted well with openers Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons sharing a 120-run partnership. Captain Rohit Sharma scored a quick-fire 40, so, the batting is looking good. Mumbai will be without Lasith Malinga, their best bowler, for the remainder of the tournament. Krishmar Santokie was his replacement, but was very expensive. Marchant de Lange is a good option who can be brought in.

 

The fielding has been exceptional to say the least. Santokie looks to have learnt a lot sitting alongside Jonty Rhodes for the most part of the tournament in the dugout. But Kieron Pollard’s catch will go down in the history of the IPL as the greatest ever. But Rajasthan made some strange decisions on May 19 and that aided Mumbai to win. One can be rest assured that Punjab will not make such decisions, even if they do make changes to their line-up.

 

Squads:

 

Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (c), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, Rishi Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shaun Marsh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Beuran Hendricks, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Thisara Perera, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Murali Kartik, Sandeep Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Akshar Patel, Parvinder Awana, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, Shivam Sharma, Karanveer Singh.

 

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Aaditya Tare (wk), Michael Hussey, Sushant Marathe, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Ben Dunk, Josh Hazlewood, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Shreyas Gopal, Jalaj Saxena, CM Gautam (wk), Krishmar Santokie, Marchant de Lange, Jasprit Bumrah, Apoorv Wankhede, Pawan Suyal.

 

Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT

 

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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)