Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab were quite disappointing in their respective opening IPL 2015 matches. Come Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium, one of these two teams will walk away with their first win of the season, and a lot of who does just that will depend on just how much they have improved from their last outings.
MI were quite poor all-round against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first match of IPL 2015, with their batsmen, barring Rohit Sharma and Corey Anderson, failing and the bowlers finding it difficult to make a fist of defending a sizeable target.
The only bright spots in that loss were the undoubted form of Rohit, who was serene and majestic in his unbeaten 98, and Corey Anderson, who yet again showed his worth with the bat in a Mumbai Indians shirt.
However, three of the top four in that match failed to get to double figures, forcing Rohit and Anderson to rebuild the innings before going into tonk-town towards the end. That rebuilding phase meant MI could only get to a score of 168, which proved to be easy as pie for KKR in the end.
The key for the Mumbai Indians come Saturday will be to avoid a top order collapse and get an opening partnership between Rohit and Aaron Finch going. The fact that they will be playing in home conditions, conditions where they are as formidable as any team in the IPL, will be a major boost, but apart from that top order batting, plenty of improvements are essential in the bowling as well.
While opening bowlers Lasith Malinga and R Vinay Kumar did pretty well to curtail the runscoring, every other bowler went for over 9.5 an over or more and that will just not do against the powerful batting lineup of KKR, or indeed the Kings XI Punjab.
The spinners, in particular, were quite awful, with both Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh constantly missing their lines and lengths and with it giving freebies to the batsmen.
KXIP were pretty poor themselves with the bat in their first match against the Rajasthan Royals, but they will look at that fragile-looking MI bowling lineup and fancy themselves. The big hitters Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell could not come to the party against the Royals, while David Miller and George Bailey were held back much to the puzzlement of everyone watching.
A change in the batting order, and getting your best batsmen out into the crease as soon as possible, will be essential, and if the Kings XI can find their batting groove, then MI could be in for a long evening.
The Wankhede is usually a terrific batting wicket, and both teams will probably fancy a chase on the ground, especially MI, who just did not have the bowling discipline to at least make a game of it against KKR.
Where to Watch Live
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MI vs KXIP is scheduled for an 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) start with live coverage in India on Sony Six and Sony Max. Viewers can also catch the IPL live on Sony Kix and Sony Aath. Audience in India also have the option of going to Hotstar or Starsports.com to catch the match via live streaming online.
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on ESPN, while the IPL 2015 action can also be live streamed on ESPN Cricket. Audience in the UK and Europe can watch the match live on on Sky Sports 3 or live stream it on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports.
Viewers in the rest of the world can watch Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab live on Cricket Gateway.