Hosts Mumbai Indians will fancy beating a floundering Kings XI Punjab when both sides face-off in a must-win match in the Indian Premier League in Mumbai on Wednesday. While the things are quite clear for Kings XI Punjab, in order to get to the playoffs they need to win both of the remaining matches while it is not the case with Mumbai Indians who can not be sure of a berth in the playoffs even after winning both of their remaining matches. Rajasthan Royals will be praying that Delhi Daredevils beat Mumbai Indians in their last game in order to avoid the Net Run-Rate situation.
In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik and left-arm pacer Mitchell McClenaghan will have to bowl accurately to get rid of the likes of the in-form Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle.
Afghanistan leg-spinner Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman's hand injury is another cause of worry for Punjab, which means that the responsibility of claiming wickets during the middle overs shall fall upon skipper Ashwin and Axar Patel.
In the beginning of the League, Kings XI Punjab were at the top of the tables with five win out of six matches and since then, things are all going south for the KXIP. But in the next six, they have won only one encounter. The last five wickets fell for just 10 runs with three run-outs and Punjab were bowled out for 88.
The clash between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab now assumes massive importance.
The collapse of Rahul and Gayle when subjected to Umesha Yadav's short balls will be something that will be at the back of the Mumbai bowlers' minds as they will look to exploit this particular weakness to strangle the opposition's chances of scoring big.
Punjab's Andrew Tye has a firm grip on the Purple Cap so far with 20 wickets, however Mumbai'sHardik Pandya is a close second on 18 and can take over in the match. If they lose their last two games, they are eliminated. Had we won two of those games before the last over, we wouldn't be having the same conversation. In the history of the IPL, never has a side qualified with just 12 points in 14 games have made the playoffs but a new piece of history can be made this year if everything goes according to this article.
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