Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings: Preview and Prediction
Flying-again Mumbai Indians will face inconsistent Punjab Kings in the 31st Indian Premier League 2023 match at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.
After losing the opening two games, Mumbai Indians’ comeback started with three straight wins, including the recent 14-run triumph over Sunrisers Hyderabad uplifting them to the sixth position in the points table, on a level with seventh-placed Punjab Kings. Both teams have won three games in IPL 2023 and lock horns with each other for the top-four spot.
What have they done so far?
The hosts enter this game with a boost of three back-to-back wins and newly-found motivation. Rohit Sharma returned to playing eleven for the Hyderabad game after featuring as an impact player in the previous game. Rohit and Ishan Kishan gave Mumbai another big start and then Cameron Green produced his best outing in IPL to help Mumbai score 192/5 while batting first.
This was Mumbai’s biggest total in IPL 2023 as they are looking finally balanced with their batting order and combinations. Mumbai’s bowling unit with some big changes this season has struggled to contribute consistently and almost failed to defend the total against the Sunrisers.
Jofra Archer remained unavailable, but the returning pacer Jason Behrendorff gave Mumbai a promising start with two early wickets, including Harry Brook’s valuable wicket. Hyderabad batters showed some resistance in the middle order with Heinrich Klaasen smashing quick 36 runs but Riley Meredith took two wickets in the death overs while young pacer Arjun Tendulkar picked his maiden IPL wicket in the last over to contribute to Mumbai’s 14-run win.
Mumbai might welcome back Jofra Archer for the upcoming game with Meredith sitting out but are unlikely to make further changes. Suryakumar Yadav’s form will be a big headache for the management as the world no.1 T20I batter scored just seven runs against Hyderabad after showing some glimpses of returning to form in the previous game.
On the other hand, Punjab Kings have been inconsistent with results in IPL 2023. They started the tournament with two back-to-back wins but lost the following two games. They dominated Lucknow Super Giants in a thrilling win but lost against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their latest game.
Punjab is now placed in the seventh position with three wins from six games and another defeat in the upcoming game will further hammer their chances for the top-four finish this season. Regular skipper Shikhar Dhawan missed the RCB game while Liam Livingstone featured for the first time this season.
Arshdeep Singh, Sam Curran, and Harpreet Brar were impressive with their spell to restrict Bangalore to just 174/4 despite a 100-plus stand for the opening wicket. But Punjab’s top order stumbled again for a good start in Mohali and eventually they were bowled out on 150 runs.
Livingstone was not able to make an immediate impact while Atharva Taide failed again in Shikhar’s absence. Jitesh Sharma and Prabhsimran Singh shone with impactful knocks but they fell 24 runs short of the target.
Head to Head Record
Both teams have faced each other in 29 IPL matches so far with Mumbai Indians slightly leading the contest with 15 wins while Punjab Kings recorded 14 victories. Among active cricketers, Rohit Sharma is the leading run-getter in this contest and enters this game with good form.
Punjab Kings have won three of their last five encounters against Mumbai Indians, including a 12-run triumph in the latest clash in IPL 2022.
Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians): Mumbai Indians skipper smashed quick 28 runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last game to give his team another big start. Rohit scored 65 off 45 against Delhi Capitals to bag the Player of the Match award and has managed to record three 20-plus knocks to contribute to the team’s impressive turnaround to form.
Rohit has amazing numbers against Punjab Kings with over 500 runs, more than any player from this contest.
Arshdeep Singh (Punjab Kings): The left-arm pacer picked just one wicket against Bangalore but bowled an economically impressive spell. Arshdeep has been the best bowler for Punjab Kings this season with nine wickets from six innings at an economy rate of 8.33 so far.
With Kagiso Rabada and Sam Curran struggling for consistency, the Indian pacer has been leading the place attack with both the new and the old ball as well.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma ©, Ishan Kishan (wk), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Hrithik Shokeen, Nehal Wadhera, Jason Behrendorff, Jofra Archer, Piyush Chawla
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan ©, Prabhsimran Singh, Matthew Short, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh, Rahul Chahar
Mumbai Indians clearly enter this game as favorites with three morale-lifting consecutive wins. They won the last game at Wankhede Stadium with a dominant performance and Punjab Kings will find it tough to end Mumbai’s winning streak.
Compared to other venues in IPL 2023, Wankhede’s surface has produced a lot of turn for the spinners and both teams will be looking to take advantage of the conditions in the upcoming game.
In the last game here, Mumbai Indians chased a 186-run target set by Kolkata Knight Riders quite easily with 14 balls remaining. So, toss will be crucial as teams are likely to bowl first, regardless of the conditions.