Dubai, Oct 17 (IANS/GloFans) : Reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) would look to enhace their chances of sealing a playoff berth with a win when they play a deflated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the 36th game of the 13th Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Sunday.
Despite being in red hot form, the Rohit Sharma-led MI wouldn’t take their opponents lightly on Sunday, as KXIP is motivated by the return of hard-hitting Chris Gayle.
While MI are the current joint toppers with 12 points, KXIP languish at the bottom of the eight-team standings and another defeat will make their task to qualify very difficult.
After missing most of the first-half games, self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle made a decent start with a 45-ball 53 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the previous game.
The KXIP think-tank will hope Gayle to replicate the show along with the in-form opener Mayank Agarwal and skipper KL Rahul, who has been the leading run-getter with 1,700 runs off 36 games.
KXIP has been, undoubtedly, over-dependent upon Rahul and Mayank and the side needs to fire in unison to be in contention for the next round of the season.
Similarly, their bowling too, relies on Mohammad Shami, KXIP’s top wicket taker with 31 scalps from 22 games, and Ravi Bishnoi as the others have failed to support the duo.They, too, need to step up and click well at regular intervals.
On the other hand, MI has been clinical in every department of the game.However, they need to be a bit aware against KXIP, who now have Gayle in their arsenal.
Skipper Rohit Sharma and opener Quinton de Kock are in good form while the middle-order features Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan who, too, have been doing great with their bat.
Keiron Pollard, Krunal and Hardik Pandya strengthen MI’s lower-middle-order.
The Jasprit Bumrah-Trent Boult pace duo has been exceptional performer and has received good support from spinner Rahul Chahar.
Being the highest wicket-taker for MI with 94 wickets from 85 games, Bumrah is once again expected to pose some serious threat to KXIP at the Dubai International Cricket stadium.