Mumbai Indians seek to maintain momentum against Kings XI Punjab
Having regrouped quickly after suffering an 85-run drubbing, Mumbai Indians will look to continue their winning ways when they lock horns with laggards Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League, in Visakhapatnam, on Friday.
After being crushed by Sunrisers Hyderabad, defending champions Mumbai Indians got their act together to get the better of Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets on Wednesday night.
Mumbai Indians, led by India's star batsman Rohit Sharma, are placed fourth in the points table with six victories and five defeats from 11 appearances. They have so far earned 12 points, and would seek to maintain the momentum going into their next game at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, their current home base.
Struggling at the bottom of the eight-team table, Kings XI Punjab are already out of reckoning for a play-offs berth, having lost seven of their 10 matches.
The visitors are not likely to find the going easy against the formidable Mumbai outfit.
Rohit has led the team from the front and is Mumbai's top-scorer overall. On most occasions, he has delivered when his team has needed.
Knocked out for a paltry 92 by Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians's batsmen as well as the bowlers seemed determined to erase that humiliation against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
After Mumbai Indians's bowlers allowed the batting-heavy Royal Challengers Bangalore to score only 151 in front of their home crowd at the comparatively smaller Chinnaswamy Stadium, their batsmen chased down the target with plenty of wickets and balls to spare.
While Rohit has been their guiding light with the bat, Ajinkya Rahane has been a calming influence on the team. The presence of the big-hitting Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler has also added depth to Mumbai Indians's batting line-up.
On and off, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel has done his bit in front of the stumps.
Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee were responsible for the early blows in their last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Spinner Harbhajan Singh is an experienced campaigner, and Rohit also has options in rookie medium pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, besides Pollard.
As far as Kings XI Punjab are concerned, the script has so far remained the same. They are coming off a heartbreaking one-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Handed captaincy midway into the league, India's Murali Vijay has been trying his best to show the way, but without much support from the rest of the crew.
Vijay top-scored with an accomplished 57-ball 89, while Marcus Stoinis blazed away towards the end, but the others failed to show up as Kings XI lost again.
The form of David Miller and Glenn Maxwell has been a cause for concern. The Australian missed out on the last match, with the team management claiming that he was being rested.
As far as bowling is concerned, the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Axar Patel and Stoinis will need to pull their socks up.
Mmbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, Corey Anderson, Unmukht Chand, Marchant de Lange, Siddhesh Lad, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Jitesh Sharma, Nathu Singh, Akshay Wakhare, Martin Guptill.
Kings XI Punjab: Murali Vijay (capt), Hashim Amla, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh, David Miller, Axar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, Sandeep Sharma, Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson, Nikhil Naik, Manan Vohra, Pradeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Shradul Thakur.