Mumbai Indians (MI) need a win against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in match no.43 of IPL on Friday. They need to keep the momentum going, which they gained after beating RCB in their previous match.
Meanwhile, KXIP have played good all-round cricket in the last few matches. If they manage to register a win against the Mumbai Indians, then they will put a huge dent on MI's hopes of making it to IPL 2016 playoffs, while keeping their, albeit slim, hopes alive as well.
Therefore, it is a crucial encounter for the Mumbai Indians, but it will not be easy as KXIP have run their opponents close, without being able to get the desired results.
Here is how the game in Visakhapatnam might transpire:
If Mumbai Indians bat first: Rohit Sharma and Martin Guptill get off to a brisk start. An attacking display from Guptill and Rohit leave the KXIP bowlers in complete disarray. Murali Vijay tactfully introduces KC Cariappa, who did well in the last game. Rohit smashes him for a couple of boundaries and then give a straight-forward return catch to Cariappa. Mumbai Indians lose their first wicket in the sixth over, but the damage has already been done. Mumbai Indians have 72 runs on the board after six overs. Rohit promotes Jos Buttler up the order and the Englishman builds a sensible partnership with Guptill. Both batsmen bat till the end of the innings to power Mumbai Indians to a total of 201/1 in 20 overs. Guptill remains unbeaten on 93, and Buttler falls one run short of his maiden IPL half-century.
Vijay and Hashim Amla try to take on the bowlers right from the start, as the required run rate is high. Vijay, who has been KXIP's best batsman so far, perishes off a slower one from Bumrah. David Miller comes out to bat at no. 3 and he shows signs of form. Miller builds a partnership with Amla but the run rate is still on the rise. Harbhajan Singh and Krunal Pandya are bowling well in tandem to keep these two batsmen quiet. KXIP require 125 runs from the last 10 overs and Amla succumbs to that pressure as he is dismissed by a terrific delivery from Mitchell McClenaghan. Marcus Stoinis joins Miller, who is batting well, at the crease. Miller decides to take on the bowlers and the pressure shifts towards the Mumbai Indians. Rohit is helpless as Miller is connecting almost every delivery. All of a sudden the equation is 43 from last 20 balls and that is doable as long as these two are out in the middle. Miller keeps his calm and finishes the game of with 4 balls to spare. KXIP beat Mumbai Indians by eight wickets.
If KXIP bat first: Vijay is a spectator at the other end as Amla has a go at the bowlers. KXIP reach 66 for no loss at the end of the Powerplay overs. The visitors lose a couple of quick wickets and the Mumbai Indians spinners slow things down. However, with the help of Farhaan Behardien's mighty blows in the back end of the innings, KXIP reach a total of 195/5 at the end of 20 overs.
Mumbai Indians lose Rohit Sharma early and then the KXIP bowlers run through the top half of their batting order within the Powerplay. Guptill somehow manages to hold on to his wicket as he builds a steady partnership with Krunal Pandya. Pandya and Guptill try hard to reach closer to the total, but fail as both batsmen are dismissed in successive overs. Mumbai Indians fall short by 25 runs.