Shaky KXIP run into an MI hurdle
October 17 2020
KXIP won their previous fixture - against RCB - but have often found themselves struggling to close out games and letting them slip away from winnable positions
It was Vince Lombardi, the former American football coach, who had assessed more than half a century ago that "winning is a habit; unfortunately, so is losing". Kings XI Punjab have so far written three chapters of 'How to lose a game from a winning position' in the IPL this season - against DC, RR and KKR. There wasnearly a fourth installment of it in their previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, before they somehow managed to sneak through with a last-ball win.
It's a curious case for a team to have both its openers at the top of the run-scoring pile and yet find themselves, as a team, at the bottom of the points table. It is an indication that not everything has gone wrong for them. With better luck and nerves, they'd have been comfortably sat in the top-half of the table. It's a case of so near yet so far, because they've just not been able to close out games.
And much unlike KXIP, Mumbai Indians have found ways to win. They have made winning a habit. That is, however, everywhere but Dubai - where they are set to play their Sunday clash. Six of their eight games so far were played in Abu Dhabi, where they dished out clinical performances with both and ball and won all their games after losing the tournament opener. In Dubai though, they have played only one game so far. And even there, against RCB, they nearly found a way to win when the probabilities were low - scoring 79 runs in the last four overs to take the game into the Super Over.
Mumbai Indians aren't a bad team to learn from on how to win, let alone how to win from near-impossible situations. But KXIP wouldn't mind not getting that lesson on Sunday.
The good news for KXIP is that Mumbai Indians have now found themselves in a comfortable position in the group stage. And even as Rohit Sharma has maintained that complacency shouldn't creep in, they have entered a stage where they are "managing the workload". There could also be more experiments in place which should allow some leeway for KXIP, who are in hunt of their third win - which could also be their first win against a side this season that isn't RCB.
When: Sunday, October 18, 2019, 19:30 IST
Where: Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab, Dubai International Stadium
What to expect: The pitches have become slower, and teams are struggling to chase down totals over 160. Even as Rohit Sharma has suggested that he doesn't mind chasing, it will be interesting to see if Mumbai Indians take that route. Temperature is likely to vary around 30 degrees Celcius.
Mumbai Indians: The defending champions are willing to rest some of their first XI players. With James Pattinson getting rested in the previous game, there could be scope for another alteration. Krunal Pandya is desperate to get some time with the bat and could be promoted higher up in the order.
Probable XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult/Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle made sure he took his opportunity in the last game. So did Chris Jordan. Glenn Maxwell's contributions with the bat haven't been impressive. KXIP have experimented a lot and confusion continues on whether they will stick with their XI from the previous game or not. However, with three left-handers in the top seven, there could be a case of adding an offspinner in the side.
Probable XI: KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, K Gowtham, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
What they said:
"I prefer batting with him (de Kock), he's very straightforward, likes to take on the bowler from the word go - but I usually like to assess the situation. Will let him play the way he wants to, don't want to put any pressure on him." - Rohit Sharma on his partnership with Quinton de Kock.
"We are a far better side than where we are in the points table. It just got too close for comfort.... As a group, we have been disappointing. It can get frustrating. Our skills were good, but we didn't capitalize on the big moments. It becomes a habit - winning and not winning. There are ups and downs and this has been the roller-coaster." - KL
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the two bigger venues, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have an average of 60-plus and a strike rate of over 150 against pace in IPL 2020. But against spin at these venues, their numbers are below par. Rahul's average and strike rate drop to 33 and 97 respectively, while the corresponding numbers for Agarwal are 18.5 and 106. Expect Mumbai, who are big on match-ups, to deviate from their set bowling plan and try some spin early on.
The lack of an offspinner in Mumbai's regular playing XI could be an advantage for Chris Gayle. Mumbai's regular spinners are Chahar (legspinner) and Krunal Pandya (left-arm orthodox). Since 2018, Gayle has a strike rate of 109 against offspin in the IPL. In the same period, he has struck at 154 against left-arm spin and at 206 against legspin.
In their last game, Mumbai reaped the rewards for unleashing Bumrah against Andre Russell. They may do the same against Glenn Maxwell, whom Bumrah has dismissed six times in 12 innings while conceding 67 off 57 balls.
Stats that matter
The average first-innings total in Dubai this IPL has been 176.
Mumbai haven't ever won an IPL match in Dubai.
In IPL 2020, Bumrah has an economy of 5.55 in the powerplay and 4.83 in the middle overs.
The Kings XI's death-overs economy of 13.60 is the worst for any team this season.
Trent Boult hasn't gone wicketless in this season so far. He has eight wickets from 12 games, and in six out of those eight games, he has provided his side with a breakthrough in the powerplay.
Pollard has been dismissed just once in the six innings he has batted so far in the tournament. That one dismissal too came in the opening game of the tournament, against Chennai Super Kings.
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