The beautiful Wankhede stadium will be the host for the Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab clash on the 12th of April. The two sides have got their respective campaigns off to seriously unwanted starts. The Mumbai and the Punjab side lost to Kolkata and Rajasthan respectively. While the Mumbai Indians failed in defending a reasonable total, the Kings XI were unsuccessful in chasing down a healthy total. Now at the Wankhede, both these teams would want to get off the mark in style. A loss at the Wankhede will add severe burden to the side which loses.
The Mumbai Indians initially hobbled against the Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. It was the duo of Corey Anderson and Rohit Sharma, which got them to safe waters and posted a healthy total. Rohit played an impeccable knock of 98* in the meantime. But, their bowlers never looked like threatening the KKR batsmen, and were eventually defeated. The only positive for the Mumbai side was that Rohit Sharma opened and this meant that he could play the maximum amount of deliveries. The Kings XI on the other hand got a clear lesson that their hard hitting batsmen must also know the ways of rotating the strike. Slogging against accurate bowlers means a constant danger.
PREVIOUS YEAR CLASHES:
The two sides battled it out at the Wankhede on 3rd May 2014. It was a reasonably high scoring game as the Kings batted first and made 169. The Mumbai batsmen lost a couple of early wickets but then captain marvelous Rohit Sharma guided them. Along with Corey Anderson, Rohit struck a fine partnership. Towards the end, the meaty blows of Kieron Pollard did the job for the Mumbai Indians as they won with 5 balls to spare. This was also their first win of the tournament, after their 5 losses in the UAE leg.
18 days later, the two sides again clashed, but this time in Mohali. The match story was quite similar as the first meeting. Batting first, the Kings XI made 156, with skipper Bailey scoring 39. The Mumbai Indians looked comfortable and cruised through a win. Opener Lendl Simmons scored a fine 100* and further cemented his place as an opener. This time, the Mumbai Indians won with an over to spare.
Rohit Sharma played like a man on a serious mission against the Knight Riders. He blocked; he defended; he drove; and he attacked ferociously. His innings had every aspect covered. Against the likes of Mitchell Johnson and co, Rohit will have to once again lead by example. The question of consistency has often hurt Rohit. Very rarely, has Rohit amassed huge runs in successive games. The law of averages has quickly caught up with Rohit time and again. Tomorrow though, he has a perfect opportunity to change that.
In the last 12 months gone by, Malinga has looked like a poor and pale shadow of himself. His pace has gone down by 5 km/hr and he fails to find the block hole. Against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Malinga failed to strike, and the Mumbai Indians lost a great plot. Their bowling is massively orbited around Malinga. If Malinga fails, then Mumbai more often than not finish second in a game.
The entire spotlight has been on Virender Sehwag. Very few have noticed the presence of Murali Vijay in the Kings XI Punjab. Vijay looked one hundred percent graceful against the Royals. His cover drives were just awe-inspiring. He looked in extremely good shape, before he was run out. Vijay has a great opportunity ahead of him at the Wankhede. With Virender Sehwag at the other end, he doesn’t have to care about scoring quickly. He can settle in, and play his gorgeous shots.
Johnson started off brilliantly against the Royals. Towards the end though, he was taken to the cleaners by James Faulkner. On the 12th of April, Johnson will have to strike in his first spell. He had some history with Rohit Sharma during India’s recent Down Under tour. It will be imperative of Johnson to dismiss him early.
Jasprit Bumrah was hammered by the KKR batsmen. He will mostly be replaced by either A. Mithun or Pawan Suyal.
1. A. Finch 2. R. Sharma 3. A. Rayudu 4. A. Tare 5. C. Anderson 6. K. Pollard 7. H. Singh 8. S. Gopal/ P. Ojha 9. L. Malinga 10. R. Vinaykumar 11. J. Bumrah/ A. Mithun/ P. Suyal
KINGS XI PUNJAB:
It is essential that the Kings XI get their batting order correct. Bailey must bat higher up the order. Another addition for them might be Rishi Dhawan, who would replace Karanveer Singh.
1. V. Sehwag 2. M. Vijay 3. W. Saha 4. G. Maxwell 5. G. Bailey 6. D. Miller 7. A. Patel 8. R. Dhawan 9. M. Johnson 10. S. Sharma 11. A. Singh