Kings XI Punjab, miserable and bereft of wins, are now in desperation mode, needing wins in all six of their remaining matches to just stay in contention for a playoff spot in IPL 2015. The first match of that desperation-mode-need-to-win phase is against the resurgent Mumbai Indians, equally keen to add another W on the board this season.
What worked so well for Kings XI last season had gone caput in IPL 2015, with their batting lineup, time and again, and a little more after that, failing to put up/chase down scores. The best things about this same KXIP side from IPL 2014 was that they played fearless cricket, not worrying about getting out, and just backing themselves to find the boundaries time and again.
After a slow start in IPL 2015, doubts inevitably crept up over that same plan of going-into-attack-mode from ball one, and just that little bit of fear has led to them losing more games than not, with the manner in which they collapsed against the Delhi Daredevils being a case in point.
This is where the coach – Sanjay Bangar – and captain – George Bailey – come in and the duo needs to try and instil that fearlessness and confidence back into the Kings XI Punjab unit when Mumbai Indians come to Mohali on Sunday.
One way to do that, might be to bring Glenn Maxwell, who only knows one way to play, back into the side, and Kings XI are now in that position where they need a Hail Mary, an inspiration, a ridiculous innings to spark them back into life in IPL 2015.
"[We] just [need to] go out and play with freedom and have a bit of fun and definitely come out with a good win," Kings XI Punjab batsman David Miller told IPL's official website after the nine-wicket defeat to the Delhi Daredevils on Friday.
The Mumbai Indians will certainly fancy themselves against the Kings XI Punjab, having won their last two matches at home. Even if this one is away, MI have now found a bit of momentum and smart money will be on the former champions making it three wins out of three.
The batting, even if there are quite a few chinks in there, slowly seems to be coming in order, while the bowling has done a lot better with Mitchell McClenaghan aiding Lasith Malinga quite admirably.
If Kings XI Punjab do come hard at them, it will be interesting to see how the MI bowlers cope, but the key, again, will be the batting.
Rohit Sharma said, after the win over the Rajasthan Royals, on Friday that he would continue batting at No.4, which means Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons need to put on a solid opening partnership. While Rohit at 4 looks set for the time being, the Mumbai Indians will do well to rethink on their strategy of playing Unmukt Chand at No.3.
Gifted several opportunities in that key position, Chand just hasn't lived up to the hype and with Ambati Rayudu playing a match-winning innings in the last match at No.5, it might be time for the India international to be promoted back to No.3 again, a position at which he has thrived in the past in the IPL.
Where to Watch Live
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The match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians will be telecast live in India on Sony Six, Sony Aath, Sony Kix and Sony Max from 4 pm IST (11.30 am BST, 6.30 am ET). India viewers can also watch the match via live streaming online on Starsports.com and HotStar.
Audience from around the world can go to Cricketgateway to catch the IPL 2015 match live, while viewers in the Middle East will be able to watch the match live on OSN, with the live stream option on OSN Play.
Viewers in the US can watch KXIP vs MI live on ESPN, while all the IPL action can also be live streamed on ESPN Cricket 2015. Audience in the UK can catch the match live on Sky Sports3, while the action can also be watched via live streaming on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports.