IPL 2020: On a Revival Mission, Kings XI Punjab Run Into Mighty Mumbai Indians

KXIP won only 1 of their first 7 matches, before showing hope with a victory over RCB in the first match of the second half. And now, they have to face an upbeat MI

IPL 2020: On a Revival Mission, Kings XI Punjab Run Into Mighty Mumbai Indians

Top of table vs bottom of table. If you were a Kings XI Punjab fan, you'd feel bad about the scheduling. Just when it seemed like the team would turn a new leaf in the second half of IPL 2020, they're set to run into the defending champions who are on a roll with 12 points from 8 matches. In many ways, Sunday evening in Dubai will decide whether or not KXIP can make a serious attempt at a revival of their campaign.

KXIP won only 1 of their first 7 matches, before showing hope with a victory over RCB in the first match of the second half. And now, they have to face an upbeat MI who have won five matches in a row. MI are so strong and balanced that there are already some analogies with the Australian dominance of early 2000s.

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The first time these sides met, it was a no contest with MI winning by 48 runs in Abu Dhabi. They had posted 191 for 4, and KXIP were never in the chase managing only 143 for 8.

KXIP will have to punch above their weight to make a match out of this one and stay alive in the tournament.

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Kings XI Punjab

And for that, KXIP will once again look to the Chris Gayle factor. The addition of Gayle - even if he bats at No. 3 - makes their team that much stronger at least on paper. How will he go against the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, though, remains to be seen. Rohit Sharma spoke about the importance of match-ups, and expect Bumrah to come on as soon as Gayle enters.

But if Gayle gets past the pacers, he can have a go at the leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya.

Apart from the Gayle factor, KXIP identified a decent bowling combination against RCB, bringing back the legspinner M Ashwin. His spell which saw two wickets in the middle overs was a crucial one in KXIP's victory over RCB. How will the spin duo of Ashwin and Bishnoi go against a team that has good players of spin including Suryakumar Yadav will be interesting to see.

Predicted XI

It's unlikely that Punjab will make any change.

KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh

Mumbai Indians

There's literally nothing new to be said about Mumbai. They're like a well oiled machine with personnel for every opposition, situation and condition. Depth in batting, options with bowling - they have it all.

They're coming off a near perfect game against KKR, where their bowlers and top order batsmen did the job with ease. Given the position in table - although Rohit said he wouldn't be complacent - they can afford to try a few things. How about off-spinner Jayant Yadav as a match up for Gayle? How about a promotion in batting for the likes of Krunal Pandya?

MI can afford to try it all.

Predicted XI

Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Rahul Chahar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult

WHAT: IPL 2020, Match 36

WHEN: October 17, 7:30PM IST

WHERE: Dubai

TELECAST: Star Sports Network

LIVE STREAMING: Disney + Hotstar