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Mumbai Indians could’ve not asked for more as they at sit the top of the points table with 12 points. They may be separated by Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore by the net run-rate but no other team looks like a match against the four-time champions. Mumbai Indians will lock horns with Kings XI Punjab next at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 18.

The last time the sides faced each other, Mumbai were on fire as the skipper scored a crucial 70 off just 45 balls. The innings was carried forward well by Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard who scored 28 and 47* respectively, while Hardik Pandya’s 11 ball 30 cameo set up a gigantic total for the Kings XI Punjab.

In return, Punjab started decently in the opening few overs but lost their way towards the end of the fifth over as Mayank Agarwal was dismissed. Poor performances from Karun Nair, Maxwell and Jimmy Neesham caused Punjab to stumble while Pooran played a fine 44-run knock.

Mumbai won the game by 48 runs and have barely shown any signs of struggles since then. Punjab have won only two games in this edition of the IPL and both their wins have come against RCB. However, a few changes here and there helped Punjab in their previous game and it may be a tricky encounter between the two teams. Can Mumbai keep going with their winning streak or will Punjab take yet another step towards their tournament revival?

Head to Head

Matches: 25, MI: 14, KXIP: 11

Teams News  

Mumbai Indians have functioned like a complete unit and all the departments look in great touch. In one fails to make an impact, the other one comes forward and that has been one of the main reasons for the team’s success. One interesting thing to watch will be how Mumbai Indians play in the Abu Dhabi conditions.

Most of their upcoming games will be out of Abu Dhabi and the variation in the pitches may throw some challenges at the Mumbai squad. The batting department was revived as Quinton de Kock played a fantastic knock and made the chase seem so trivial. Mumbai also roped in Nathan Coulter-Nile as he made his IPL 2020 debut in superb fashion against Kolkata.

This shows the flexibility and the ability to adjust even though the rest of the attack remained the same. Mumbai Indians are not showing any weaknesses as of now and it will take some team to beat them.

Chris Gayle’s comeback against his former team was a perfect fairytale. Gayle did not open but still managed to fire a half-century. Gayle smashed five sixes and reminded the world that he is still the ‘universal boss.’  Punjab’s death bowling has been criticized throughout the IPL and that is something that has been the main reason for their poor season.

Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin have chipped in a lot of times but the fast bowlers have not been convincing enough.  

Pitch Conditions

Dubai pitches have become unreasonably slow in the recent games, even slower than Abu Dhabi at times. It is anticipated that some grass will be left in order for the ball to come onto the bat properly. That may be too much to expect and both the teams will have to prepare for the worst. If compared, Mumbai seem to tackle the problems better than Punjab and thus, Punjab will have to be cautious.

Anything around 170 will be a good total. However, extremely poor lengths at the death may still not help you and Punjab and Mumbai both will have to keep that in mind. 

Probable Playing XI

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

Kings Xi Punjab (KXIP): KL Rahul (C&WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran.

Key Battles

Quinton de Kock (MI) vs Mohammad Shami (KXIP)

Quinton de Kock (MI) vs Mohammad Shami (KXIP)

Quinton de Kock is not having a great tournament overall but his last display against Kolkata was commendable. That was a huge relief for the Mumbai management as the second half of the tournament is now on its way and every team will try to be more clinical than they were in the first half.

He will be against Mohammad Shami who had a decent start this season, considering the wickets he took. The economy has been an issue for every Punjab bowler but Shami has looked the most promising out of the lot. And after knowing his potential of bowling lethal bouncers and pin-point accurate yorkers, Shami has to start delivering more.

The battle between the two will be an interesting one as both would look to attack each other. Let’s see who comes on top.

Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs KL Rahul (KXIP)

Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs KL Rahul (KXIP)

Punjab’s poor performances have barely affected KL Rahul as he is still the orange cap holder with 448 runs. He has taken on almost every bowler in the IPL and may have missed out on a few. This Sunday he will get a chance to take on Jasprit Bumrah who he failed to trouble the last time the sides met.

Bumrah will look to get his numbers up as he chases Kagiso Rabada in the race to win the purple cap. Bumrah has 12 wickets in the tournament so far and he will try to catch the Delhi pacer. Considering how good Mumbai have been in the powerplay, Rahul will have to keep his focus and choose his targets well.

Prediction

Both the teams won their last game comfortably and thus, this game may be a lot different. Mumbai will look to keep their momentum as IPL is a tournament where even a single game can be worth a lot. For Punjab, it will be more of a do-or-die contest as they have lost handsomely in the past.

They cannot afford any more losses and an unbeaten run from now on will probably make them enter the top four. A lot will be dependent on the KXIP batsman as it has been their dominant department throughout the season.

A decent total on the board for either team will give them a huge advantage in the game as batting second has barely been helpful to any team.

Cricwizz predicts Mumbai Indians to win the game