If ever there was a contest of contrasting fortunes, this is it. At one end are Mumbai Indians, playing musical chairs with Delhi Capitals for the top spot on the IPL 2020 points table. At the other end of the very same table, right at the bottom, are their opponents for Sunday’s evening game in Dubai: Kings XI Punjab.
Mumbai are currently on a five-match winning streak and in all, have six wins and two losses from eight games. The Kings XI? Two wins and six losses from their eight matches. Mumbai have tried only 13 players so far, the least by any team. The Kings XI have tried 20, the most by a team in its first eight matches.
Mumbai have been so dominant that their narrowest victory margins so far are 34 runs when batting first and five wickets when chasing. The Kings XI, meanwhile, have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on more than one occasion. In their opening game, they failed to score one run from the last three balls against the Capitals before losing in the Super Over. Against Kolkata Knight Riders, they needed 29 from 24 balls with nine wickets in hand but couldn’t get over the line.
Does it need saying who start as the favourites?
Rohit Sharma set the platform with a 45-ball 70 before Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard took 25 off the final over, bowled by offspinner K Gowtham, to power the Mumbai Indians to 191 for 4. Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson and Rahul Chahar then picked up two wickets each to restrict the Kings XI to 143 for 8.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Rahul Chahar, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (capt, wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Chris Jordan, 8 M Ashwin, 9 Ravi Bishnoi, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Arshdeep Singh
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the two bigger venues, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have an average of 60-plus and a strike rate of over 150 against pace in IPL 2020. But against spin at these venues, their numbers are below par. Rahul’s average and strike rate drop to 33 and 97 respectively, while the corresponding numbers for Agarwal are 18.5 and 106. Expect Mumbai, who are big on match-ups, to deviate from their set bowling plan and try some spin early on.
The lack of an offspinner in Mumbai’s regular playing XI could be an advantage for Chris Gayle. Mumbai’s regular spinners are Chahar (legspinner) and Krunal Pandya (left-arm orthodox). Since 2018, Gayle has a strike rate of 109 against offspin in the IPL. In the same period, he has struck at 154 against left-arm spin and at 206 against legspin.
In their last game, Mumbai reaped the rewards for unleashing Bumrah against Andre Russell. They may do the same against Glenn Maxwell, whom Bumrah has dismissed six times in 12 innings while conceding 67 off 57 balls.
Stats that matter
The average first-innings total in Dubai this IPL has been 176.
Mumbai haven’t ever won an IPL match in Dubai.
In IPL 2020, Bumrah has an economy of 5.55 in the powerplay and 4.83 in the middle overs.
The Kings XI’s death-overs economy of 13.60 is the worst for any team this season.
Trent Boult hasn’t gone wicketless in this season so far. He has eight wickets from 12 games, and in six out of those eight games, he has provided his side with a breakthrough in the powerplay.
Pollard has been dismissed just once in the six innings he has batted so far in the tournament. That one dismissal too came in the opening game of the tournament, against Chennai Super Kings.