Can the Kings XI Punjab arrest a three-match losing streak when they welcome the red-hot Mumbai Indians to the Holkar Stadium on Thursday?The Mumbai Indians can hit the top of the IPL standings if they get a result in Indore against the Kings XI Punjab on Thursday afternoon.
That’ll be easier said than done, however against a Kings XI side who on their day can mix it up with the very best in the competition.
KIXP vs MI | Thursday 21 April | Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore | 16:30
To Win Match
Kings XI 23/20 | Tie 35/1 | Indians 7/10
Kings XI Punjab
After a bright start to their 2017 IPL campaign, the Kings XI have faltered in recent weeks, losing three matches on the trot. It is worth noting that their two wins came at home while their three defeats all came on the road.
This week they return to the Holkar Stadium where they’ll meet the juggernaut that is the Mumbai Indians. At the start of the season, I spoke extensively of the Kings XI’s middle order needing to take them over the line. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that neither Glenn Maxwell, David Miller nor Eoin Morgan have performed particularly well in those three defeats.
Hashim Amla has also battled for form a bit on the road, only managing 44-runs in the three away games the Kings XI have played this season. When Amla and Manan Vohra get the ball rolling in the first eight overs, it makes life significantly easier for the Kings XI destructive middle-order to pile on the runs in the latter stages.
I’d also like to see Sanjay Bangar maintain a bit of consistency in his top and middle order. The likes of Maxwell, Miller, Axar Patel and Wriddhiman Saha have been shifted up and down the order on a game-to-game basis.
It shouldn’t come as any real shock that the best sides in the competition have settled top and middle orders and are piling on the runs. I feel like the Kings XI would be enjoying more consistent success if the players know exactly what their roles are coming into these games.
The Mumbai Indians are looking more and more like they could go all the way in this season’s IPL with every passing match. The fact that the Mumbai franchise has done so well this tournament without Rohit Sharma really hitting his straps yet is even scarier.
To be fair to Rohit, he did manage a 29-ball 40 in the victory against the Gujarat Lions on Sunday. Prior to that knock, the skipper had only managed nine runs in four matches. With their captain beginning to find his feet and the likes of Nitish Rana, Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard all striking the ball cleanly, it’ll take a mammoth effort from the Kings XI to snatch the points on Thursday.
While their batting has been magnificent, I’d like to see a bit more consistency from their seam attack. Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga have struggled to put in the sort of steady performances that many were expecting before the tournament started while Tim Southee has been taken apart by opposition batsmen all too easily.
Oddly enough, it’s been Mitchell McClenaghan and Krunal Pandya who have starred with the ball. The Kiwi currently has seven wickets after five matches while his Indian colleague has returned an economy rate of 6.85 in the same amount of games.
All in all, I think the Indians are in excellent shape heading into this match. They possess the better batting and bowling units and should be far too good for the Kings XI.
Verdict: Mumbai Indians 7/10
The Indians are the form side in the competition at the moment and will take some beating. By contrast, the Kings XI have lost their last three matches. I don’t see them arresting that trend on Thursday – get on the Indians at 7/10.