Mumbai Indians know that a loss here will put them out of the IPL 2018. If they win, they move to the fourth spot. This is as good an incentive you could get at this stage in the competition.
Mumbai Indians have a net run rate of 0.405. This is the best in the IPL and the reason for that is that most of their games have been close affairs. That’s why they are still in a position to make it to the play-offs despite everything.
The problem with Kings XI is that they depend completely on their two top batsmen, their openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. While the two of them are massive threats, beyond that the side poses little threat. They would desperately want their batting to stand up in this match, which hasn’t happened so far.
A win for Kings XI will take them to 14 points in the table, but it will still not guarantee them a play-off spot because of their poor net run rate.
Also, the problem for R. Ashwin has only mounted as his main bowler, spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman has hurt his hand when bowling against Kolkata Knight Riders. So he will be missing the Kings XI’s match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In the last game between the two teams Mumbai Indians restricted Kings XI Punjab to only 176. They won that match easily due to a superlative performance by their opening batsman Suryakumar Yadav.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Chris Gayle performs in this game. He has blown hot and cold and hasn’t done much of note in recent games.
Prediction: Mumbai Indians should win this one. They have too many stars and are too good not to play in the play-offs.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Suryakumar Yadav, 3 Rohit Sharma (capt), 4 Ishan Kishan (wk), 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Ben Cutting, 8 JP Duminy/Kieron Pollard, 9 Mitchell McClenaghan, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mayank Markande
Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (wk), 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 Karun Nair, 5 Aaron Finch, 6 Marcus Stoinis/Mujeeb ur Rahman, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin (capt), 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Mohit Sharma, 11 Ankit Rajpoot
Watch Mumbai Indians play Kings XI Punjab tonight at 8 pm Live on Star Sports!