Kings XI in danger of missing qualifiers spot
Over dependence on their opening pair and the consistent failures of their middle order has seen the Kings XI Punjab’s (KXIP) season crash from a very good one to a struggle to qualify for the playoffs. KL Rahul finally ran out of his purple patch and that saw KXIP canter to 88 all out on a pitch that had amassed 459 runs in the previous fixture.
May 16, 2018
20:00 hours IST
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Mumbai Indians – LWWWL
Kings XI Punjab - LLLWL
That being said, their current form gives the Mumbai Indians the perfect opportunity to get their campaign back on track, having suffered defeat at the hands of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in their previous game. What they will have to be careful of is their net run rate. With five teams still in contention to qualify for the last two spots, the net run rate will become a deciding factor and Mumbai will be looking to maintain their positive net run rate.
To fold up for 88 on a pitch which was not as good for batting as the previous game has only magnified the problem which KXIP have had to deal with throughout the season. Apart from their openers, none of the middle order batsmen have stepped up and they had to rely on Andrew Tye and Mujeeb ur Rahman to do the trick with the ball. Yes, Ravichandran Ashwin’s captaincy has been a big positive for them but there is only an extent up to which four players can keep winning matches for a team involving seven others.
The other major concern will be the fact that they let Bangalore chase the runs down in a canter which took their net run rate down to -0.518, thereby allowing themselves to slip out of the top four. At a stage where teams are looking to peak, KXIP are certainly on the slide!
A mixed season for Mumbai looked to be getting back on track until they lost against Rajasthan. The close losses at the start of the season might eventually see them failing to make it to the playoffs, they have had their moments. Of late, they have squandered good starts to finish poorly and that was the case against RR. From 86 for no loss in the first ten, they ended with 168 for six to give RR an opportunity to come back into the game.
They will also need to look at JP Duminy’s role in the team as he has barely got a hit with the bat and has been coming in at number eight with hardly few balls to face. They faced the same issue with Kieron Pollard, who was playing as a batsman, and they might as well bring an extra bowler rather than not utilizing Duminy at all.
A Mumbai win will make the qualification scenario more interesting while a Punjab win will knock the defending champions out of contention. While the latter looks less likely, one can never predict a Gayle storm!
Expect an unchanged XI from Mumbai.
Mumbai Indians - Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Krunal Pandya, JP Duminy, Hardik Pandya, Ben Cutting, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande
Yuvraj Singh and Manoj Tiwary could come in for Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair. Mujeeb should come back in for Stoinis, if fit.
Kings XI Punjab – KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair/Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal/Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis/Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot
- KXIP started with five wins and one loss in their first six games and have followed it up with one win and five losses from their next six games
- In their last three innings combined, Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal have an aggregate of 11 runs between them. While Nair has had scores of 1, 3 and 3, Agarwal has managed 2, 0 and 2 respectively
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