Here is a match up between two teams whoa re struggling in IPL 2018 so far and both are on the verge of being eliminated. Mumbai Indians came out of a horrible start and won three consecutive games to keep their hopes alive but their last loss also confirmed an exit from the tournament. On the other hand, Kings XI Punjab have messed up a great start to the tournament, to now have just one win in their last 5 games.
Mumbai have looked to be a very balanced side but there has been no consistency at all in their squad, while Punjab have little or no balance in their squad and were lucky enough to win 6 games, mostly due to their openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul, who have scored over 50% of the team’s runs this season. On paper, Mumbai have a much better team than Punjab.
Mumbai have displayed great talent throughout this tournament, especially Suryakumar Yadav, who has amassed 473 runs this season, with 4 fifties as well. Their next best is opening partner Evin Lewis with 325 runs and no one else is near these two. And this has been their story in this season of the Indian Premier League and the last game was another example of that. Mumbai had an 80+ opening partnership in around 10 overs, but only managed 168, losing to Rajasthan.
Lokesh Rahul is at #2 on the Orange Cap list in IPL 2018 and I personally believe that he is the best batsman of this season so far. Their next best batsman is a distant #15 – Chris Gayle with 350 runs in the season. Next? Karun Nair at #26 with 247 runs and next is captain Ravi Ashwin at #49 with 102 runs. Yes, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking where are the real batsmen. All those games they were winning at the start with all due to opening partnerships but now I can guarantee that even if Punjab have a 60-70 run opening stand, they will still lose.
Agarwal, Nath, Axar, Yuvi, Finch, Stoinis and MIller have all been used in the middle order but none have been good. While Ashwin started off captaining the team well, I think he lost the plot in the next few games. He has been making far too many changes, not letting good players settle down. Aaron Finch now has scored of 34 and 26 after a string of single-digit scores. Maybe he would’ve hit form earlier if given a longer run and the same can be said for Yuvraj Singh, whose experience in this crucial stage would count for much more than that of Mayank Agarwal or Akshdeep Nath.
The points table may show Punjab at #5 and Mumbai at #6 but when you look at current form, Punjab have won 1 in their last 5, while Mumbai have won 3. Mumbai are also playing at home so I think it’s going to be tough for a misfiring Punjab to get past the Men in Blue. I’m backing Mumbai to win this game even though they are out of this season of the Indian Premier League. Mumbai lead the H2H count between these two, 11-10.
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