For Mumbai Indians it has been a topsy-turvy quest to defend the IPL title - from the auction to their last tie, the team is let down the most by its biggest investment for the season.
In the bowling department, Australian pacer Andrew Tye (20 wickets) and Afghan teenaged spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman (14 wickets) have been brilliant.
Tye used knuckle ball to a great effect as he accounted for Evin Lewis (9 off 7 balls), Ishan Kishan (20 off 12 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (27 off 15 balls) to leave Mumbai Indians reeling. For the starters, if MI lose today, they will be out of the IPL. Andrew Tye, the top wicket-taker of the season, was yet again instrumental as he took four wickets for only 16 runs. He may have lost his powers with the ball, and this year, he had failed to make adequate impact with the bat as well.
But the main highlight of the MI innings was the knock played by the comeback man, Kieron Pollard. Kings XI have won six out of their twelve games, while Mumbai has managed five wins from their twelve games. He smashed 1 four and 2 sixes. All of Tye's good work was undone by the time he was dismissed. Tye bowled another good spell in the death.
"It doesn't change at the last moment [the plan when I'm running in]". Crucially, Mumbai's net run rate is far superior.
Chasing 187, openers Lokesh Rahul (94) and Chris Gayle (18) provided a steady start, scoring 34 runs in four overs. The visitors eventually fell short by 3 runs. With nine wickets in hand and Aaron Finch also well set, Kings XI had the edge. On most occasions, such games are usually tilted in favour of the batting side, especially with an in-form batter still unbeaten in his 70s.
Rahul brought up the 100-run stand with a couple of sixes off Mayank Markende but Bumrah brought his side back in the game with the wickets of Finch (46 off 35) and Marcus Stoinis in the same over. He lofts the ball expecting it to be a six, but finds Ben Cutting at long-off as Bumrah gets his third wicket. Rahul was forced to play an ambitious shot as he tried to hit the bowler's off-cutter only to mistime it and being caught in the deep.
Middle-order batsmen Axar Patel (10 not out), Yuvraj Singh (1) and Manoj Tiwary (4 not out) tried to reach the target but failed.
MI's bowling too has been a worry. KL Rahul is playing really well, and the rest of the batting line-up have to support him.
But what can be missed is the mark difference in the fielding of both the sides.
Where do they go from here? In this game, Mumbai Indians will try to dominate Kings XI Punjab and book their birth for the Playoffs, While the stats are same for the Inconsistent Kings XI Punjab. But, it lost to Rajasthan Royals in the last game.
It will be a do-or-die game for Mumbai Indians (MI) when they host Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the 50 match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Wednesday.