IPL: Punjab face tough task against confident Mumbai

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IPL: Punjab face tough task against confident Mumbai 

Visakhapatnam, May 12 (IANS) On a high after a thumping win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, defending champions Mumbai Indians will aim to continue their winning momentum when they take on bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Friday.

Two-time winners Mumbai come into this match after a six-wicket victory over batting powerhouse RCB and are currently placed fourth in the points table with 12 points from 11 games.

While Punjab, after a one-run loss to RCB in their last match, they find themselves in the bottom of the points table with six points from ten matches.

A strong Mumbai side will, as always, rely on openers Rohit Sharma and Parthiv Patel to do the job upfront. With in-form Ambati Rayudu, hard-hitters Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya to follow, the batting line-up is very strong.

Skipper Rohit has led his team from the front and scored runs when it mattered most for his side. After being bundled out for 92 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai’s batting unit stood up and delivered against RCB to register their sixth victory of the season and stay on course for a play-off spot.

Their bowling led by New Zealand’s Tim Southee alongside Mitchell McClenaghan, young Jasprit Bumrah have been one of the most consistent line-ups in the tournament so far. They were well supported by veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Krunal Pandya.

On the other hand, Punjab despite having match winners in their side have failed to put up a descent show in the cash-rich T20 tournament. Be it with the ball or the willow, India’s as well as overseas players’ inconsistent performance has dashed their hopes of making it to the play-offs.

After handing captaincy to India’s Murali Vijay from David Miller, the former has led the team well and also been among runs with the bat. But the South African is yet to show his skills in the ongoing competition.

Recently-joined Hashim Amla has also failed to impress in the opportunities he got.

The side will yet again rely on skipper Murali and overseas all-rounder Marcus Stoinus to do the job with the bat.

In the bowling department, India’s Mohit Sharma has led from the front, but Sandeep Sharma, Anureet Singh and spinners Axar Patel need to step up a gear against a strong Mumbai batting unit.

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