Mumbai needs a win, Kings XI Punjab hope they lose

Kieron Pollard

(IPL) The Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians will clash in Match 55 of VIVO IPL 2018.

The Daredevils are the wooden spoon holders and will finish the season that way. They’ve won only four of their 13 matches – the last of them in their previous match against the Chennai Super Kings. Despite not batting their best, the Daredevils posted a respectable 162-5 and defended it.

The equation for the defending champions Mumbai Indians is straightforward: win this match and sail through to the playoffs. If MI are able to accomplish that, it will be some achievement. At one stage earlier in the season, MI were at the bottom of the table with one win from six outings; since then, they’ve won 5 of their next seven matches and now stand one win away from progressing to the next stage. In their previous outing, MI held their nerve to deny Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling encounter at the Wankhede Stadium; after Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya rescued them to 186-8, MI eked out a 3-run win.

Ravichandran Ashwin

The 22-yards used in this match will be a huge factor in this contest. The pitch used in the last match was a slow-paced surface and made stroke-play difficult. It will be interesting to see how the teams read the surface and adapt to the challenges.

Meanwhile, Match 56, the final league fixture of VIVO IPL 2018, will feature the Chennai Super Kings and the Kings XI Punjab. While the former have a guaranteed berth in the playoffs, KXIP will see hope in the mathematical probability that they can still sneak into the top four. The realistic chance for KXIP to make the cut is if MI to lose to DD (or share points) earlier in the day, and they then beat CSK by a huge win so their net run rate can become better than that of the Rajasthan Royals’.

MS Dhoni

In their previous match, CSK were caught out by a slow pitch and lost to the Delhi Daredevils. In the post-match chat, the CSK captain MS Dhoni said he wasn’t unduly troubled by the loss since the pitch had drastically slowed down and stroke-making was extremely difficult. CSK will be back at the familiar surrounds of their adopted home ground where they defeated the table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad the last time they played there.

Kings XI Punjab have had a dreadful run in recent times. Table-toppers at one point in time and an outfit considered a sure shot playoff qualifier, KXIP now rely on prayer and a complete domination. The Ravichandran Ashwin-led team have only one win in their last seven matches; that is in stark contrast to the first half of the season when they won five of their first six matches.

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