With backs to the wall, KXIP gear up to pay MI a visit

Photo credit: BCCI/IPLT20.com

Kings XI Punjab are in a tough spot now in the VIVO India Premier League, as they need to win both their remaining games to qualify for the Playoffs. There has been a dip in form since the one-week break with the team losing four games in five, but we all know that Lions are dangerous beasts when they have their backs to the wall.

Aamne Saamne

Kings XI Punjab

Mumbai Indians

10 wins

11 wins

One of the closer contests in the IPL, KXIP and MI have very little separating them, with MI inching ahead only on virtue of the win earlier this season. KXIP would want to avenge that home defeat by taking down MI at the Wankhede Stadium, and getting two crucial points.

Batting de Baadshah

Lokesh Rahul for KXIP

Suryakumar Yadav for MI

558 runs

473 runs

The most consistent batsman for KXIP and one of the highest scorers in the league this season, Lokesh Rahul has been scoring runs for fun. With five half centuries and a best score of 95*, Rahul is enjoying his best IPL season yet, and his exploits at the top of the order have proven to be the backbone of his side.

Since his promotion to the top of the order, Suryakumar Yadav has impressed everyone with the amount of talent and class he has with the willow. Playing proper cricketing shots and improvised strokes with equal aplomb, Suryakumar has scored four half centuries at an average of 39.41.

Bowling de Kings

Andrew Tye for KXIP

Hardik Pandya for MI

20 wickets

18 wickets

The first bowler this season to reach the milestone of 20 wickets, Andrew Tye has been nothing short of inspirational with the ball for KXIP. Having the knack of breaking partnerships, and also putting batsmen in uncomfortable positions, Tye currently holds the Purple Cap and doesn’t seem to be in the mood of slowing down.

Close behind Andrew Tye in the Purple Cap list is MI’s Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder’s pace bowling has improved leaps and bounds over the past year or so, and the wickets he has picked up proves that. Though he has been on the expensive side, his team would still be impressed, given the returns he provides.

From the Lion’s Mouth

“We expected to play tight games in a tournament like IPL.” - Ravichandran Ashwin

Mudde ki Baat

It’s a do-or-die situation for KXIP now, who have to win both their remaining matches while also keeping an eye on the net run rate. The middle order needs to step up pronto, and not rely on the opening burst that Rahul and Chris Gayle provide more often than not. The injury to Mujeeb Ur Rahman is a body blow for the bowling attack, and the side will have to quickly adjust if he remains unavailable for the upcoming match as well.

MI have been hot and cold too and their recent loss against RR has put them in a tough spot, mandating them to win both their matches as well. The lack of consistency in the MI batting order apart from Suryakumar Yadav has been hurting them, but the bowling attack seems to be doing well. Hardik Pandya has been picking up wickets, and the others are chipping in well too. It will be a pressure game for both sides, with the losing team most likely to be knocked out from the reckoning.

Yaad Rakhiyo

  • Andrew Tye (20) and Hardik Pandya (18) are currently leading the race for the Purple Cap
  • Marcus Stoinis’ IPL best of 4/15 has come against MI
  • Rohit Sharma has scored 306 runs against KXIP as an MI player
  • Kieron Pollard has inflicted 14 dismissals in the field against KXIP

Who could play?

KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Karun Nair, Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot

With Mujeeb Ur Rahman injured and unsure for the coming match, there’s a void left in the bowling attack, so Marcus Stoinis could retain his place as the sixth bowler and all-rounder in the side. There can be a case made for David Miller and Yuvraj Singh to come in as well, with a reshuffling of the middle order not out of question.

NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.

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