Two sides that have played matches in which umpiring controversies have overshadowed the performances.
Kings XI Punjab take on Mumbai Indians in their first home game in Mohali on Saturday (March 30).
Punjab began with a win against Rajasthan Royals - yes, that mankad game - and then slipped against Kolkata Knight Riders. Mumbai lost to Delhi Capitals in their opener before defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore in a thriller. Yes, that no-ball game.
Both sides, though, have played some solid cricket in their two matches. Mumbai, as they often do, began with a loss but that was only because Rishabh Pant came to the party. Mumbai's batsmen showed glimpses of form in that game too, posting 176 with Yuvraj Singh scoring a half-century. They took that forward in the next game, where their batting depth took them to 187, despite a slight collapse in the middle.
Mumbai will want their batsmen to convert their starts. They're usually late starters, and that should happen with due time.
Punjab too would believe they could have easily won two in two if not for Andre Russell. Punjab have only themselves to blame though; Mohammed Shami bowled Russell on 3, only for the batsman to be reprieved as they had only three fielders inside the ring! A schoolboy error meant Russell unleashed a carnage from which Punjab never recovered.
Punjab have been in good batting form too; they've scores of 184 and 190 in the two matches. Each of the top order batsmen has scored runs, with only KL Rahul pending. He was their backbone last season, and will have to strike form if Punjab are to maintain consistency. Not going to be easy, for Mumbai have one of the best attacks in the form of Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga.
Punjab's attack is largely restricted as they don't have all-rounders. With only five bowlers, they can hardly afford an off-day. How their unit - packed with spinners - go against the powerhouse of Mumbai batting might decide the course of the game.
David Miller: Miller finished a T20I series against Sri Lanka on March 24, flew in to India a day later, made it to the Punjab XI on March 27, and immediately scored a half-century. He has been in fine form for South Africa recently, and just extended it into the IPL against Kolkata Knight Riders. It didn't result in a win, but the way he began would boost Punjab's hopes. They had issues with the middle order last year, and Miler could well be the man who solves that.
Jasprit Bumrah: Bumrah had a rare poor start to the tournament, going for 40 in his four overs against Delhi apart from picking up a shoulder injury. Great players bounce back soon, and that's what Bumrah did. A stunning spell of 4-0-20-3 in the pocket-sized Bangalore stadium, including the wicket of Virat Kohli and a superb 19th over - Bumrah is the reason Mumbai have a win early in the tournament.
TEAM NEWS/AVAILABILITY UPDATES
Mumbai: Mumbai are unlikely to tinker with their winning combination.
Punjab: R Ashwin made four changes to his side for the last match despite having made a winning start, and that's perhaps the way they'll go. Horses for courses. Given Mumbai's strong batting unit, Punjab might be tempted to bring back Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Will that cost Varun Chakravarthy his place? Varun went for 25 in his first over the other night before bouncing back decently to end on 3-0-35-1. Has he done enough to earn his captain's trust for the big game?
Punjab: KL Rahul(w), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, R Ashwin(c), Hardus Viljoen/Mujeeb ur Rahman, Varun Chakravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Andrew Tye
Mumbai: Rohit Sharma(c), Quinton de Kock(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Murugan Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Agnivesh Ayachi, Darshan Nalkande, Varun Chakravarthy, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar
Mumbai Indians: Yuvraj Singh, Lasith Malinga, Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Aditya Tare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jason Behrendorff, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Jayant Yadav, Quinton de Kock, Evin Lewis, Barinder Sran, Siddhesh Lad, Jasprit Bumrah, Pankaj Jaiswal, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Anmolpreet Singh, Alzarri Joseph, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Mayank Markande, Rasikh Salam
First Published: March 29, 2019, 7:56 PM IST