On the back of morale boosting 200+ successful chases in IPL’s 999th and 1000th match respectively, Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians would aim to take down another playoffs’ contender in their reverse clash at Mohali on Wednesday (May 3), weather permitting.
PBKS are flying high after having gunned down a 201-target against CSK at Chepauk off the last ball, while Mumbai stunned Rajasthan Royals by chasing down an improbable 213 – with 32 required off the final 12 deliveries – courtesy Tim David’s brutal death-overs hitting that included a hat-trick of last over sixes. As such, IPL 2023 has been set alight with a highly volatile points table. Five teams, starting right from second-placed RR, are tied on 10 points each with an identical five wins in nine outings and separated only on NRR. Punjab Kings are the last of that lot. Their opponents, Mumbai Indians are just below them, with eight points at no. 7 but also have the cushion of an additional game in hand. As the race for playoffs intensifies, both teams can ill afford to take their foot off the pedal.
Over the years, Punjab have more often than not found itself at the receiving end of close encounters that eventually costs them a playoffs spot. However, the Shikhar Dhawan-led side is finally finding ways to reverse the trend this year to collect crucial points. That said, their campaign has still lacked consistency – the results getting partly affected due to unavailability of core personnel at various points. They’ve won three out of their last five now, but those victories have been punctuated by defeats. Add to it a worrisome home record – they’ve won just one of the four in Mohali thus far – where they’d want to sign off with a W before shifting base to Dharamsala next.
Much like PBKS, Mumbai would also be pleased with their batting depth coming to the fore of late to win them games. The perennial slow starters of IPL claimed a thrilling win at home to snap their two-match losing streak without having to sub in their impact player in a 200+ chase, which is a definite plus. But their bowling has been a real concern. They’ve especially tinkered with their pace-bowling attack often and, besides leggie Piyush Chawla’s tally of 13, don’t have a lot to write home about.
Given how their campaigns have ebbed and flowed, neither of the two teams go into the contest as real favourites. But, in an uncharacteristically cold Mohali, the conditions could give Punjab’s in-form pace duo of Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada an ever so slight advantage.
Probable XI of PBKS : Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prabhsimran Singh, Atharva Taide, Liam Livingstone, Sikandar Raza, Sam Curran, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Shahrukh Khan, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh
Probable XI of MI: Rohit Sharma (C), Ishan Kishan (wk), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Jofra Archer, Arjun Tendulkar, Piyush Chawla, Jason Behrendorff, Riley Meredith