Mumbai have won two out of four so far, while Punjab are one off the bottom with one win in four games
Toss Punjab Kings opt to bowl vs Mumbai Indians
KL Rahul won the toss and chose to bowl first as the Punjab Kings attempt to put a form slump behind them and steal a march on the reigning champions, the Mumbai Indians, in Chennai.
Punjab made a solitary change from the side that was routed by nine wickets by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their most recent outing, but despite posting barely more than a run a ball in that match, it’s a bowling change with a legspinner, Ravi Bishnoi, replacing another legspinner, M Ashwin. England’s Dawid Malan, until recently the world’s No. 1-ranked T20I batter, will have to wait a while yet to make his IPL debut.
“We just lacked a little bit of cricket smartness when we lost a couple of wickets (in the previous game),” Rahul said at the toss. “We should have realised it wasn’t a 170 wicket. Hopefully, we’ll learn from that. It does look a little damp and sticky, might get easy to bat on later.”
Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai captain, said that his team would have batted first anyway, in the hope that the dew factor would be minimal come their turn to bowl later on a cloudy evening. Sharma had been afflicted with a minor calf niggle in the build-up to the game, but has reported a clean bill of health.
The last time these two teams played, in Dubai in October, it took two Super Overs to separate the sides – with the Punjab side coming good at the second attempt. They would settle for that sort of nerve-shredder again, having lost their last three games, and even though they put a formidable 221 for 6 on the board in their tournament opener against the Rajasthan Royals, they were made to battle all the way for an eventual four-run win.
As for Mumbai, they haven’t yet found their best form this season, with two wins out of four so far, and a couple of rescue acts from their bowling attack therein – most notably against those serial collapsers, the Sunrisers, last week. But with the pace of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah to spearhead their attack, and the unfathomable wiles of Rahul Chahar having already bagged figures of 4 for 27 and 3 for 19 in the tournament to date, they have got the weaponry to derail any team at any juncture of a contest.
Punjab Kings: 1 KL Rahul (capt & wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Shahrukh Khan, 7 Moises Henriques, 8 Fabian Allen, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Arshdeep Singh
Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket