MI, PBKS Aim To Play Catch Up Amidst Mid-table Congestion

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - MI, PBKS aim to play catch up amidst mid-table congestion. MI will hope to put an end to their losing streak when they go up against PBKS

MI, PBKS Aim To Play Catch Up Amidst Mid-table CongestionMI will hope to put an end to their losing streak when they go up against PBKS


For all of Mumbai Indians' credibility of playing the catch-up game well, four wins in 10 matches, has left them with no option but to make a dash in the final stretch of the league phase. To their luck, barring the dominance of Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings, to go with the turn of form for Kolkata Knight Riders, the rest are stuttering as much as them this season. Clubbed with three other teams on the points table with as many wins, Mumbai Indians have the company of Punjab Kings – their opponents for the Tuesday night clash.

A changed name hasn't helped the KL Rahul-led side, who despite showcasing individual brilliance consistently, continue to falter in the crucial moments of their matches. It's a cause of worry, especially with their continuous line-up changes which has left them with more uncertainty than assurance.

Most striking are their middle order concerns, which has been as fragile as that of Mumbai Indians this season. The only difference is that Punjab have been long used to it, without an adequate solution over several years, while Mumbai Indians are in an unfamiliar zone. with their powerful ‘Engine Room' not firing.

Against a side like Punjab Kings, which has relied heavily on its openers to do the scoring, the powerplay could prove to be a decisive period of play. Last season, Mumbai Indians bowlers had dominated the phase with the most wickets – especially in Abu Dhabi. Even as several other teams have studied and outwitted them in the match-up game this season, if the defending champions break Punjab's top order early, they will be able to break their three-match losing streak as well.

Head-to-head: Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings have had a near-even contest over the years, with MI leading 14-13, which includes one win each in the previous season.

When: Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings, September 28, 2021, 19:30 IST

Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

What to expect: The pitch in Abu Dhabi hasn't been as fast as it was the previous season but batting second has been comfortable in the evening games. The tweakers have enjoyed challenging batsmen to go after them on the big ground. However, even express pace and cutters have had its advantages.

Team News:

Mumbai Indians

Injured/Unavailable: Hardik Pandya has returned to the side even as he didn't bowl against Royal Challengers Bangalore. No one in the XI from the previous game is likely to be unavailable.

Matchups/Tactics: Even as Mumbai Indians have been hesitant to use too many of Jasprit Bumrah's overs upfront, there might be a good reason for them to do so against Punjab. The pacer has dismissed Mayank Agarwal 3 times in 14 balls, and conceded only 6 runs. There are also enough reasons for Mumbai Indians to consider including Dhawal Kulkarni in the side. He has dismissed KL Rahul four times and Chris Gayle thrice.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Adam Milne, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult

Punjab Kings

Injured/unavailable: All players are fit and available. Even as Nathan Ellis bowled well in the death in the previous game, there could be a case to include Chris Jordan on a bigger ground in Abu Dhabi. Most likely though, Punjab Kings are expected to retain their XI.

Matchups/tactics: The in-form Mohammed Shami might be held up to be used late against the out of form Pandya brothers. The pacer has dismissed both Krunal and Hardik thrice, in 15 and 13 balls respectively.

Probable XI: KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Harpreet Brar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis, Arshdeep Singh

Did you know:

– Punjab Kings would prefer to chase for more reasons than one. They have four of the five lowest totals registered batting first this year.

– Mumbai Indians are on a three-match losing streak. The last time they had lost four successive matches was in 2015. They ended up winning the tournament then.

What they said:

“That's been happening consistently (losing their way with the bat). I've had a good chat with the batters. Those who are in, need to carry on. They (RCB bowlers) kept the pressure on us once a couple of wickets fell. We need to bounce back from whatever situation we're in. We've done that in the past, it's just not happening this season.” – Rohit Sharma after the loss against RCB.

“He (Harpreet Singh) has been good for us, he can do everything. He has finished some games for us with the bat, gives us control with the ball and is also great in the field. Every time I go to him, he tells me ‘Paaji (Brother) don't worry, I won't leak runs'. That's his attitude.” KL Rahul on their find of the season.

(Stats by Deepu Narayanan)

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