|The Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab are set to compete in game 43 of IPL 2016.|
Following their resounding victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, the Mumbai Indians will be looking to further underline their play-off credentials with a big win over the bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab in Fridays only IPL match-up.
Can the Indians leapfrog the Gujarat Lions into second place or can Kings XI salvage a bit of pride from what has been a terrible season? Let’s get right to it!
To Win Match
Mumbai Indians 6/10 | Tie 35/1 | Kings XI Punjab 27/20
After a decidedly rubbish start to their 2016 campaign, the Mumbai Indians have come to life. The reigning champions have rocketed up the table in recent weeks and could take yet another massive step in securing a play-off spot if they can beat the Kings XI on Friday.
Ricky Ponting’s charges put in a magnificent performance with ball in hand last time out to oust the increasingly disappointing Royal Challengers Bangalore. It was the first time any team in the competition had been able to restrict the men from Bangalore to a sub 170 score as they finished on a disappointing 151-4 from their allotted 20 overs. Even the mercurial Virat Kohli – who suffered his first single-digit score of the campaign – struggled against well-disciplined attack.
More encouraging for the Indians, however, was the form of their middle order power-hitters. I lamented both Kieron Pollard as well as Jos Buttler in my last Mumbai Indians preview for not showing enough lower down the order. And as if galvanised by criticism – not really – they came to life, smashing a combined 64 in just 30 balls to finish off the Kohli and his beleaguered charges.
Looking ahead, they’ll need to keep their wits about them as they prepare to take on the Kings XI.
While the Punjabi franchise have struggled to perform thus far, they do have a number of talented players like Hashim Amla, David Miller and Glenn Maxwell who can win a game single-handedly if given the chance.
Kings XI Punjab
Where to start with the Kings XI? Their captain – or now ex-captain – David Miller has had his leadership role revoked and handed to Murali Vijay following a run of 10 games in which the South African has only managed 131-runs at an average of 16.37.
Sanjay Bangar can be happy with new captain, Vijay. The Indian opener has been immense since taking over the captaincy from Miller and continues to be the only batsman in the squad that puts up any sort of resistance on a consistent basis. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stonis have been good in bursts, but haven’t shown any of the consistency needed to win a tournament of this format.
The Punjabi franchise have struggled with the ball too this season. Only Sandeep Sharma and Axar Patel have had any sort of success on some very batsman-friendly wickets. These two will need to come to the party again if they’re going to stop the Indians from putting on a massive total on Friday evening.
The sooner this season ends, the better for all involved with the Kings XI. Aside from one or two decent showings, the team has been largely disappointing with fans choosing to stay away from their home games at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. They’ll be desperate to go on a bit of run toward the back-end of the season and salvage a bit of pride – nobody wants to finish bottom of the standings.
Verdict: Mumbai Indians 6/10
While I’m of the opinion that the Kings XI do have the players necessary to get one over the Mumbai Indians, I simply can’t back them to claim a shock result against the current champions. Their confidence is shot and they’re not playing particularly good cricket.
Value Bet: Murali Vijay to top score of the Kings XI at 11/4
Vijay has been in fantastic touch since taking over the captaincy role, scoring 174 runs in his last four innings. He looks great value here at 11/4 to top score. It looks a virtual certainty provided the master accumulator, Hashim Amla, doesn’t get going at all.