The shift from the fast-paced wickets of Wankhede to the slow Chepauk pitches had an immediate bearing on the performance of Punjab Kings who failed to adapt quickly and as a result suffered their third loss in four games. But that’s not the only reason they find themselves at the bottom of the table at the moment.
Having been unable to find the right team balance, with the playing eleven undergone several changes, they’ve
been plagued by inconsistency with both their batting and bowling. And with the team set to shift base to Ahmedabad after this game, the breathing space is
limited for Punjab as they attempt to lift their sagging fortunesS.
In the blue corner are Mumbai Indians who have been blowing hot and cold in trying conditions. Their batting in the middle overs has left a lot to be desired and they too will be moving out of Chennai after this game. They have their next four games lined up in Delhi, and with the pitches there not expected to get any quicker, Mumbai will be keen to make amends and set the ball rolling.
For Punjab, Chris Gayle has failed in three successive innings, and the middle order has also struggled with Nicholas Pooran registering three ducks in four games with a highest of 9. Meanwhile, despite KL Rahul’s strike rate issues resurfacing, it may not be a bad idea for the Kings skipper to take his time at the crease and lead the way with sensible batting while Shahrukh Khan’s familiarity with the conditions and his promising knocks so far, bodes well for the team. Punjab found the method
with the ball straight away and all they’ll ask for is a few more runs from the batsmen.
Meanwhile, Mumbai lndians will be concerned about how their middle order has fared in the slow conditions.
Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers have struggled to come to terms with the pitch, and like Punjab, Mumbai too suffered a collapse in the last match which did not give their bowlers much wiggle room. A run-rate of 7.7 in the death overs with 7.1 balls per
boundary this season as compared to the run-rate of 12.43 and 3.4 balls for a boundary in IPL 2020 – MI have a glaring issue.
When: Friday, April 23 at 7:30 PM IST
Where: MA Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
What to expect: It wouldn’t be a surprise if the teams are presented with another slowish surface. In the first five matches in Chennai this season, teams batting first won on four occasions. However, the last two matches here have seen successful chases, and factoring in the dew, bowling first is likely to be the route taken at the toss.
Head to head: Punjab 12 – 14 Mumbai. The last time these two sides faced, they produced a memorable contest with a second Super Over being employed for the first time ever. Producing another thriller, immaterial of the conditions, isn’t beyond the scope of both teams.
Probable 11s :
PUNJAB KINGS : KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Shahrukh Khan, Fabian Allen, M Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh. MUMBAI INDIANS : Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult