The Punjab Kings take on Mumbai Indians in their fifth game of the Tata Indian Premier League 2022 on Wednesday, April 13. While Punjab Kings have two wins in four games, the five-time champions are still looking for their first points.
The game will be held in Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association ground. As the two teams gear up for this encounter, below are a few talking points:
First match at Pune for PBKS
The Punjab Kings are playing their first game at the Maharashtra Cricket Association in Pune this year, having played at all the other three venues in Mumbai in their last four games. They arrived at the venue three days before the match to get accustomed to the pitch and weather conditions at Pune.
Livingstone’s blazing form
Explosive all-rounder Liam Livingstone has found form at the right time for the Punjab Kings. His back-to-back half-centuries and two wickets against the Chennai Super Kings speak of the destruction he is capable of unleashing. His form will be crucial for PBKS to get back to winning ways.
Mumbai Indians look for first win
The Mumbai Indians have lost four games in a row and have been winless in the Tata Indian Premier League so far. They have faced defeat at the hands of Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore in that order. They will be desperate to grab their first two points of the season.
MI’s familiarity with Pune
The Mumbai Indians team have played two matches at Pune’s MCA so far - one against Kolkata Knight Riders, and the second against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In both games, MI batted first and set insufficient targets, losing by five and seven wickets respectively. While they may have lost the two games, they will now have a good idea of what to expect from the pitch and how to make the best of it.
The Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings share a history of thrilling encounters, including the IPL’s first double super-over finish. After a game that tied the teams at 176/6, PBKS (then KXIP) put up just five runs in the Super Over, which was tied after some exceptional bowling from Shami. In the second Super Over, MI scored 11 off 6 balls, which was chased down by Punjab in just four deliveries, ending with two fours from Mayank Agarwal, to seal a big win.
Studying the Pune pitch
The MCA stadium at Pune has a pitch that supports the batters well. However, as the game progresses, it can also give ample support to spinners. The average first and second innings scores here are 153 and 128 respectively for T20s. However, the last two games played here showed the first innings scores of 161/4 and 151/5 set by MI chased down comfortably by KKR and RCB respectively.
Our spinning ace familiar with MI
Leggie Rahul Chahar, who has been having a good run so far in the season, is highly familiar with the Mumbai Indians outfit, having spent his time there since 2018. Additionally, he is well aware of the danger the top order, consisting of Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, can pose, and his performance will be crucial.
Bhanuka’s command over spin
Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s command over spin bowlers has become quite evident, ever since he took on Wanindu Hasaranga in the first game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. It leaves an opportunity for the explosive Sri Lankan to be reconsidered by the Punjab management to feature in the playing XI.
The Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings clash is scheduled for 7.30 PM on April 13.