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Mumbai's batting might up against Punjab's bowling smarts in Mullanpur

Both teams have four points from six games and need to pick up winning momentum as the league phase nears the half-way stage

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
17-Apr-2024 • 17 hrs ago

Match details

Punjab Kings (eighth) vs Mumbai Indians (ninth)
Mullanpur, 7:30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture - The contrast between Kings and Mumbai

Punjab Kings have only one batter with more than 150 runs this season, but he's going to miss Thursday's game with a shoulder injury. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have three over 150 and those who have fewer runs are either middle and lower-order batters or haven't played enough games in IPL 2024.
Mumbai's openers have given them a kickstart: the 308 runs between Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan is the second highest for the first wicket this year; they have been separated in single-digits in only two out of six innings, and have fifty-plus partnerships (including a hundred) in the other four. Their partnership runs have come at more than 11 runs an over.
The Kings haven't had such batting riches. Their regular openers - Shikhar Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow - have totalled 168 runs at only 8.33. With Dhawan injured for their previous game against Royals, Kings opened with Bairstow and Atharva Taide but there was not much improvement.
The contrast doesn't end there. Mumbai have hit 67 sixes this season, the second highest, while Kings' 44 is the second lowest. In the powerplay, Mumbai's 23 sixes and Punjab's four are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Though Mumbai's batting is performing much better than Punjab's, they are just below the Kings near the bottom of the table with four points from six games. And that may be down to the contrast between their bowling units this season.
Despite Jasprit Bumrah's genius (10 wickets at an average of 14.60 and economy of 6.08), Mumbai have one of the poorest performing attacks of the season: their collective average of 35.72 and economy of 10.04 is the third worst among the ten teams. Punjab, on the other hand, have the best bowling average (25.20) and the fourth best economy rate (8.87) this season.
Their home venue might have something to do with it. Teams have struggled to start fast in Mullanpur: the powerplay run rate of 7.11 there is the lowest this season, which means Rohit and Ishan will be challenged to give Mumbai their customary quick start on Wednesday.

Form guide

PBKSLLWLL (last five matches, most recent first)

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Punjab Kings
Bairstow's lean run, especially in Mullanpur where he has scores of 9, 0 and 15, could force Kings to consider playing the South African batter Rilee Rossouw. Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma have formed a potent threat with the bat lower down the order, so expect the Impact Player tactics to be the same: Ashutosh swapping in or out for Arshdeep Singh or Prabhsimran Singh.
Probable XII: 1 Atharva Taide, 2 Jonny Bairstow/Rilee Rossouw, 3 Prabhsimran Singh, 4 Sam Curran (capt), 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Shashank Singh, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Arshdeep Singh, 12 Ashutosh Sharma
Mumbai Indians
Along with Bumrah, Gerald Coetzee is the only MI bowler to have a sub-ten economy rate in the death overs in IPL 2024. Mumbai have been the third-most expensive side in the phase. Given they have not used a lot of spin, could they be tempted to bring in the Sri Lankan fast bowler Nuwan Thushara for offspinning allrounder Mohammad Nabi?
Probable XII: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Tilak Varma, 5 Hardik Pandya (capt), 6 Tim David, 7 Romario Shepherd, 8 Mohammad Nabi/ Nuwan Thushara, 9 Shreyas Gopal, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Gerald Coetzee, 12 Akash Madhwal

In the spotlight: Kagiso Rabada and Rohit Sharma

Not only has Kagiso Rabada been among the wickets this season for Kings, he has done so at an economy under eight - the first time he has conceded less than eight an over since IPL 2020. His nine wickets include seven right-handers and Mumbai have plenty of them. Rabada has been effective in the middle overs, where he has picked up four wickets with an economy of 7.33.
Rohit Sharma has been superb for Mumbai this season. Without the burden of captaincy, he has blazed away in the powerplay and is enjoying his best start to an IPL. His tally of 261 is already the highest for him in the first six matches of a season. He has also never scored faster than his strike rate of 167.31 in IPL 2024. He has been good against pace (strike rate of 173.63) as well as spin (152.17) which has made him hard to contain for the opposition.

Stats that matter

  • Rohit will become only the second player after MS Dhoni to play 250 matches in the IPL
  • Kishan has been dismissed three times in 12 balls by Arshdeep Singh in the IPL but has a strike rate of 208.3 against him. Against Rabada though, Kishan has 58 runs off 33 balls for one dismissal.
  • Rohit has a strike rate of 148 against Rabada for two dismissals in the IPL, but in all T20s, he has been dismissed four times in 74 balls for just 89 runs. Against Harshal Patel in the IPL, his head-to-head reads: 27 runs, 23 balls, three dismissals.
  • Rabada against Suryakumar Yadav could be the contest to watch: 94 runs off 52 balls with three dismissals.
  • Pitch and conditions

    Teams winning the toss have opted to chase in Mullanpur, and won two out of three games this season. The one time they lost, Kings fell only two runs short against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The pitches have largely been batting-friendly, and expect the trend to continue in the evening game on Thursday.


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    Shreyas Gopal on how MI captain Hardik Pandya is handling the jeers from fans
    "Brar has been our successful bowler if you look at his economy or wicket-taking ability. Last game, he bowled less dot balls but Livi [Liam Livingstone] has bowled more dot balls and taken more wickets. Brar will come back stronger, he plays his domestic cricket on the same ground. He will come back stronger."
    Kings spin consultant Sunil Joshi on Harpreet Brar's form

    S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

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