Slipping to the seventh position in the IPL 2021 table after a hat-trick of losses, defending champions Mumbai Indians will need their famed top-order batting to fire and turn things around when they take on Punjab Kings on Tuesday.
Time is running out for Mumbai after they lost all three games post the resumption of the IPL. While the five-time champions faltered in their run-chase against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the team couldn't defend its total against Kolkata Knight Riders.
MI's batting has been a major worry, as their mainstays with the willow, including Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, have been struggling for runs.
Skipper Rohit Sharma scored 33 and 43 in the last two games but couldn't capitalise on the starts. After being left out of the first two games due to fitness issues, Hardik Pandya was included in the playing XI against RCB, but his stay was short-lived.
In bowling, Jasprit Bumrah has consistently delivered, returning with 8 wickets so far in the last three matches, while fellow pacers Trent Boult and Adam Milne too have contributed with three scalps each.
But the spin duo of Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya has disappointed and will need to step up their performance if MI want to qualify for the knockout stage.
Punjab, on the other hand, are placed in the fifth spot after returning to winning ways in their last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) following a splendid performance from the bowlers, who made up for the team's below-par batting display.
With eight points from 10 games, just like MI, Punjab Kings too can't afford any slip-up.
Punjab Kings boast of some excellent Indian and foreign talent, and yet, they have regularly messed up games, and are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league.
PBKS have a formidable batting line-up with skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal scoring the bulk of the runs at the top of the order. With the ageless Chris Gayle, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran also in the ranks, PBKS do have the firepower in batting to blow away any attack.
However, PBKS's batters couldn't adjust to the slow conditions at Sharjah in their last game, prompting skipper Rahul to ask them to learn to bat according to the surface.
Mohammed Shami and young Arshdeep Singh have come good, while spinner Ravi Bishnoi grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he returned with three wickets after his inclusion in the last game.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Shahrukh Khan, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid, Murugan Ashwin, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Aiden Markram, Mandeep Singh, Darsan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Ravi Bishnoi, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar, Jalaj Saxena.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain) Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, James Neesham, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Marco Jansen, Yudhvir Singh, Adam Milne, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult.