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The IPL 2020 has been keeping up with its image of games going down to the wire as every game gets better as we progress further into the tournament. Mumbai Indians played their last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, a game that went from being one-sided to a nail-biting one in just a matter of minutes.

The loss of the Mumbai Indians also enabled other teams to have an equal go to battle for a position where they can qualify for the playoffs. KXIP have also been working on establishing a new image about themselves and in this IPL, the team has been successful to contrive a plan that helps them in doing so.

Punjab’s batting is already lauded as one of the most explosive ones in this edition, while there have been mixed responses about the bowling department. The two teams are neck to neck in terms of points and the winner of this game will surely get a push into the top four. There are still a lot of games to be played and like all the other IPLs, in this edition too, the position for the playoff spots looks unpredictable.

CSK, however, have reached the playoffs in all the IPLs they have participated in, but are currently at the bottom of the table, which is a very rare sight to see and it also makes you learn that no place or position in the table is certain and the table can literally turn upside down towards the end of the tournament.

The match is to be played on Thursday, 1st October 2020 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Can Punjab’s dynamic batting destruct Mumbai’s dominant bowling?

Head to Head

Matches played - 24, KXIP - 11, MI - 13

Team News

KXIP were one of the unexpected teams to start off the IPL in an explosive fashion. It seems more fascinating as they managed to do well without the services of the ‘Universal Boss’ Chris Gayle who didn't feature in the first three matches.

KXIP have already shown that they can easily be one of the promising teams in the IPL this season despite two losses as both were very marginal. A bad Super Over in their first game and being unable to kill the game when they were dominant enough to do so in their game against RR were the moments that could’ve changed the fate of the fixture then.

KXIP currently sits on the fourth spot but their over-reliance on the KL Rahul Mayank Agarwal duo could be one of the areas Mumbai Indians target. The middle-order hasn’t contributed much as Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran, and Karun Nair have failed miserably to impact with the bat.

However, they are still a force to reckon with as the only two centurions in IPL 2020 so far belong to the same team, KXIP. Their performance, however, with the ball in the slogging overs has been poor. Only Mohammad Shami has been executing his plans accurately, while others tend to lose their rhythm after being hit for a few boundaries.

Youngster Ravi Bishnoi has been commendable, while the rest have not managed to come on top in any game. Murugan Ashwin though showed some positive signs in the game he was a part of. For Mumbai, they have not had the start they wanted, but that is Mumbai Indians for you. The most successful franchise in the tournament has got a nag of stepping up their game with every stage of the competition.

The bowling department hasn't been successful while top-order batsmen have failed to provide a good start, however, the amazing fact is that when even half of both the departments come in unison, Mumbai Indians clinch the game in their favor. Ishan Kishan was spectacular in the last game and he will surely be a permanent member of the squad from now until the end of the tournament.

Pitch and Conditions

Even though there has been an ample amount of dew in the second innings, teams electing to chase have struggled most of the time in the tournament so far. In the four games played, the average score has been around the 160-170 mark barring Mumbai’s 195 in a game that was surreal.

The surface has been sluggish thereby helping the spinners more. The temperature tends to drop too but it is anticipated that it will be pretty hot and players will get tested on the outfield. A score around 170 will be above-par, while the team chasing will hope for some individual to step out and guide the team home.

Probable playing XI

Mumbai Indians (MI): Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson, Suryakumar Yadav.

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): KL Rahul (C and WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Ravi Bishnoi,  Sarfaraz Khan, Mohammad Shami, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell. 

Key Battles

KL Rahul (KXIP) vs Trent Boult (MI)

KL Rahul vs Trent Boult  IPL
KL Rahul vs Trent Boult

KL Rahul has a strike rate of 156.33 and he is the orange cap leader with 222 Runs. The KXIP captain is also one of the only two players, who has scored a ton in the IPL 2020 so far and it seems Rahul won't stop for a long time. With the additional responsibility of captaincy, the Indian has shown how well he can handle it and keep up with his hard-hitting. 

He will be, however, against Trent Boult, who is known for his line and length. He has picked up 5 wickets with an economy of 7.67 in 3 games. Boult's in-swingers have caused KL problems in the past, but with the kind of form the Indian is in, it will be a thrilling battle.

Mohammad Shami (KXIP) vs Rohit Sharma (MI)

Rohit Sharma vs Mohammad Shami  IPL
Rohit Sharma vs Mohammad Shami

Mohammad Shami has been the best bowler for KXIP so far and that includes in all the aspects of the department. Shami has picked up 7 wickets so far with an economy of 7.45. Considering the fact that he bowls two spells, one in the powerplay and the other during the death overs, his economy is simply commendable and thus, he can cause ample problems to the 'Hitman' who has struggled to keep up with his form. 

Rohit has scored 100 runs in 3 games with a strike rate of 138.88. Rohit's potential is undoubtedly one of the best and he can literally come up and score with ease without any pressure. Once he gets going, there is no bowler in the world who can stop him and that attitude is something Shami will be careful about. Both the players have more than what they have proven and this added pressure will only make the battle more interesting.

Prediction

With both the teams having played some really adrenaline-pumping games, the face-off between the two is expected to be exorbitant. Both the teams are equal in terms of points and it is only a matter of the net run-rate that differentiates between the two. A win here will put the team into the top four but moreover, it would kindle a much-needed momentum in the team that will help them in the future games.

The game could go either side as both the teams are capable enough. However, on paper and with the kind of pressure situations the Mumbai Indians have been, they have a foot forward in the battle. Punjab will look closely into Mumbai’s recent loss and will try to hurt them in areas they lack confidence.

Cricwizz predicts Kings XI Punjab to win the game