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Punjab search for consistency against high-flying Mumbai

article_imageTACTICAL PREVIEW
Last updated on 21 Apr 2023 | 01:39 PM
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Punjab search for consistency against high-flying Mumbai

The five-time champions have arrived in IPL 2023

Finally, Mumbai Indians seem to have woken up from their slumber. They had a dismal start to their IPL 2023 campaign. In their first encounter, Mumbai lost miserably against Royal Challengers Bangalore and were thrashed by their arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings in the second. 

However, whatever they touched in the last three matches has turned gold. Their inexperienced bowling attack has come good, and few out-of-form players have started to perform consistently. Hence, they have managed to win all their last three games. 

Their opponents Punjab Kings, are in complete disarray. Their best batter Shikhar Dhawan is out with an injury. In two matches in his absence, their opening partnership folded in the first over of the innings. 

Despite the failure, their middle order came good against Lucknow Super Giants. But, against a power-packed Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up, they were blown away. Punjab, who started with two wins on the bounce, have now suffered two losses and a win in their three games. 

Things to watch out for

The old stalwart leading from the front

Can Piyush Chawla bowl in all phases? Yes, he can. Can he bowl to left-handers and right-handers? Again, the answer is yes, he can. This season, Chawla has been Mumbai's go-to bowler under challenging situations. 

The leg-spinner has been their highest wicket-taker with seven wickets and has been their most economical bowler in matches where none of Mumbai's bowlers could stop the flow of runs. In three out of the five innings he has bowled, the UP spinner has had an economy of less than 6.5. On the other hand, no Mumbai bowler has had an economy of less than 7.5 in those three. 

This is why, among Mumbai bowlers who have bowled in two or more innings, his economy (7.2) is the best. 

Massive improvement in the first six overs

Mumbai has been an improved team in both batting and bowling departments in the first six overs. 

In the first two matches, they scored only 90 runs and lost four wickets. They averaged 22.5 and lost a wicket every 18 balls while scoring at a run rate of 7.5. In any case, in the last three games, they have scored 193 runs by losing only two wickets. They have scored 10.4 runs per over by losing a wicket every 96.5 runs and 54 balls.

On the bowling front, Mumbai have bagged five wickets in this phase while conceding 8.3 runs per over. They have picked up a wicket every 21.6 balls. In comparison, they had only one wicket at an economy of 10.1 in their first two matches. 

Sam Curran sensational in the last five overs

Sam Curran, the costliest buy ever in the history of IPL, went for a whopping price because of his exploits in the last five overs. 

However, his early impression was not up to expectations. In his first three games, the left-arm quick had zero wickets and leaked runs at an economy of 11.3 in three overs. In total (all phases), he had only one wicket in his first three games while conceding 9.6 runs per over. 

There has been a massive turnaround in the last three games. Curran has picked up four wickets, and all have come at the fag end of the innings. The most impressive aspect is that his economy has come down to seven from 11.3. 

Overall, Curran has an economy of 8.5 in the last five overs. Among 16 pacers who have bowled five-plus overs, only Anrich Nortje (8.1) has a better economy. 

Ground details

Batters have had complete dominance at the Wankhede Stadium in the two matches played so far. Batting teams have averaged 31.2 per dismissal, the best after M Chinnaswamy (31.4). Bowlers have snaffled a wicket every 20.7 balls, the worst among all venues. 

Interestingly, before IPL 2023, Wankhede was conducive for pacers (since IPL 2016). However, in two matches this season, the quicks have had a wicket every 25.9 balls and 43.9 runs, the worst—their economy of 10.2 is the third highest. The spinners have aced in all aspects. They have picked up 59.1% of wickets while conceding at 7.7. They have a balls/wicket ratio of 17.1 and an average of 21.8. 

In both matches, the chasing teams won. On average, 171 runs are scored in the first innings, but they still need more. 

Tactical Nous

Ishan Kishan has finally arrived for Mumbai. He has been dismissed only once in the powerplay and has a strike rate of 165.1. Against the pacers, he has struck at 174.6, the third-best among batters who have faced more than 20 balls. 

Besides the good length deliveries, Ishan has a strike rate of 220+ against pacers when bowled on the back of a length/short and full length. Adding more, Ishan has faced Kagiso Rabada in seven innings and has a strike rate of 175.8 (Runs - 58, Balls - 33, Dismissals - 1).

Arshdeep Singh, in this IPL, has bagged nine wickets, the most for a Punjab bowler. Five of those nine have come from short deliveries (10m+). He has bowled 18.3% of his deliveries in this length while conceding at 6.3, his best of all lengths. The short deliveries have been his productive length in this IPL. 

Team news

Mumbai are on a winning spree and would not want to tinker with their playing XI. 

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Nehal Wadhera, Hritik Shokeen, Piyush Chawla, Jason Behrendorff, Arjun Tendulkar

In Punjab's match against Bangalore, their fielding coach Trevor Gonsalves mentioned Dhawan's injury might take another two or three days to heel. By his words, Dhawan is likely to miss the game against Mumbai. Nathan Ellis did not have a great match against Bangalore and is expected to be replaced by Rabada. 

Probable XI: Prabhsimran Singh, Matthew Short, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sam Curran (c), M Shahrukh Khan, Harpreet Brar, Nathan Ellis/Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh, Rahul Chahar 

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