Having stated their 2015 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a wrong note, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will aim to register their first win of the season when the two teams face-off at the Wankhede stadium here on Sunday.
The home side would be up against a strong KXIP known for their hard-hitting abilities, led by Australian George Bailey.
Although KXIP would be coming into the Sunday’s game after a loss, but the 2014 runners-up squad filled with swashbuckling players like Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Mitchell Johnson will pose a big challenge for MI.
While the big boost for the hosts will be the superb form of skipper Rohit Sharma, who struck an unbeaten 98 against KKR in the campaign opener and looked in full flow at the team’s practice session here on Friday, the captain needs to be well supported by his teammates.
However Rohit’s opening partner Australia’s Aaron Finch who failed to impress against KKR scoring just five will look to get runs under his belt. Indian batsman Ambati Rayudu and Aditya Tare will also look for runs after a failing to get past the one digit mark.
MI bowlers will be watched from close quarters after an unimpressive show in the lung opener.
The bowling department led by Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga who finished with figures of 4-0-27-0 against KKR, will have to boost his fellow teammates to deliver on Sunday. Corey Anderson, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Jasprit Bumrah all went for runs against the two-time IPL champions.
However the KXIP, who had a superb 2014 season finishing runners-up, will bank on their experienced Twenty20 specialist batsmen to do the job for them.
But its the bowling department, barring Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson, which looks quite inexperienced and weak.
Old horse Virender Sehwag will aim to use the T20 league to get back to the national team. But his first ball duck against Rajasthan Royals on Friday was not the start the opener was looking for.
Glenn Maxwell, known as a limited-over specialist will once against look to exploit the MI bowlers. After an impressive World Cup campaign, where he scored his first One-Day-International ton, the middle-order batsman will surely be the man whom MI will be targeting.
But with Rohit in fine form, well supported by Corey Anderson and star pacer Lasith Malinga in squad, the home side has a slight edge over KXIP when the two teams clash on Sunday.
Head to head, MI and KXIP are evenly poised both winning seven each out of their last 14 encounters.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Aaron Finch, Ambati Rayudu, Aditya Tare, Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Vinay Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Pragyan Ojha, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Unmukt Chand, Parthiv Patel, Josh Hazlewood, Marchant de Lange, Pawan Suyal, Mitchell McClenaghan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Aiden Blizzard, Akshay Wakhare, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchith.
Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (captain), Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, Mitchell Johnson, Axar Patel, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Karanveer Singh, Manan Vohra, Thisara Perera, Parvinder Awana, Rishi Dhawan, Beuran Hendricks, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Shivam Sharma, Nikhil Naik, Yogesh Golwalkar.