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IPL 10, Match 51: Mumbai v Punjab

Wisden India logo Wisden India 11-05-2017 Wisden India staff
© Provided by Wisden

At the start of the week, Kings XI Punjab had a simple task: win all three remaining games to keep their chances of making it to the playoffs alive. They have kept up a third of the bargain so far with a 14-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday, and next face Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday (May 11).

Glenn Maxwell, the captain, was delighted with their spirited performance, especially in the bowling innings against Kolkata. The bowlers were quick to read the pitch and the batsmen. And where the team has been hurt before by poor fielding, the bowlers found good support on the field.

It wasn’t, however, a complete performance. The top four failed to build on starts; not maximising the Power Play overs could prove costly against a top team like Mumbai. After all, the last time these teams met, Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana had made short work of Punjab’s 198 for 4, built on Hashim Amla’s hundred.

Mumbai, having confirmed their place in the playoffs, attempted to experiment against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous game. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t pay off. It did, however, show Rohit Sharma that his team needed to work on putting up a total.

Now, a top-two finish is at stake. “It’s vital for us to finish in the top two,” said Mahela Jayawardene, the coach, ahead of their final league game. “It gives us an advantage of having a home playoff.”

Mumbai struggled against the slower bowlers in Hyderabad; and it so happened that Punjab exploited a slow pitch and variations of pace to deliver dot-ball pressure to Kolkata in Mohali. Maxwell’s bowlers are unlikely to be greeted with a similarly friendly surface in Mumbai, but the hosts would do well to be cautious.

Head-to-head record

Played 19. Mumbai 10, Punjab 9.

Head-to-head at the Wankhede Stadium

Played: 6. Mumbai 3, Punjab 3.

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