Mumbai Indians will enjoy home advantage, as the franchise is based in Abu Dhabi, but there will be little to choose from the clash against K.L. Rahul’s Kings XI Punjab at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday. The defending champion has a slender 13-11 lead over its northern opponent in the head-to-head record.
Kings XI will play its maiden game in Abu Dhabi after enjoying a run-feast in Sharjah. Mumbai returned to their base after the Super Over loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this week.
One couldn’t have asked for a better exhibition of the IPL being a face-off between the cream of Indian cricket stalwarts. Rohit facing Mohammed Shami and an on-song opening pair of Rahul and Mayank Agarwal taking on Jasprit Bumrah will be a treat for the fans on Thursday.
Despite the lip-smacking line-up, it will be interesting to see how Rahul and Agarwal cope up with the biggest boundaries in Abu Dhabi. Having played two of its three games here, Mumbai is expected to fare better.
Both the teams have star players in its ranks but they have been found wanting in crunch situations. Mumbai will expect Quinton de Kock, the opener who has had a relatively quiet tournament so far, to fire at the top while Kings will be banking on its middle-order to come good.
The key men
Besides the Indian superstars, the game will also be a clash between two in-form overseas superstar all-rounders. While Glenn Maxwell hasn’t had too much to do with the willow so far, he has impressed with his off-break.
IPL’s Arabian Nights
Kieron Pollard, on the other hand, has carried his Caribbean Premier League form into the IPL.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Anmolpreet Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Dhawal Kulkarni ,Chris Lynn, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohsin Khan, James Pattinson, Prince Balwant Rai, Anukul Roy, Sherfane Rutherford, Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary, Jayant Yadav.
Kings XI Punjab: K. L. Rahul (Capt.), Glenn Maxwell, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M. Ashwin, J. Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh.
Match 13, Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Date: October 1, Thursday
Time: 7:30 PM IST.