After evening games at Wankhede in the last two days, IPL 2021 action returns to Chennai. Punjab Kings will be looking to arrest their poor form against Mumbai Indians on Friday. Mumbai will be looking to bounce back after defeat against Delhi Capitals earlier this week.
Punjab is currently seventh in the points table with a marginally better net run rate is keeping away from the bottom place in the table. After getting off the season with a win, Punjab has failed to kick on and got worse with every passing game. Despite having a strong batting unit on paper, there is too much inconsistency from each individual. A defeat on Friday will make sure that Punjab will need a miraculous recovery to be back in the reckoning for a spot in the playoffs.
On the other hand, defending champions Mumbai Indians have also endured an indifferent start to IPL 2021. The batting unit is yet to click together in a game. They have struggled in middle and death overs on a tricky surface in Chennai, but bowlers have bailed them out on two occasions to clinch victories. Rohit Sharma will be hoping that his batsmen have learned their lessons and respond with a clinical performance on Friday.
Punjab and Mumbai have been involved in some tight contests over the years. Courtesy of these tight games, the head-to-head record gives no team a perfect edge going into the game on Friday. Mumbai has won 14 games out of 26 encounters, while Punjab has 12 wins to their name. Considering how competitive games have been in Chennai during IPL 2021, Friday could be another closely fought match between these two sides.
Despite suffering defeat against Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians are unlikely to make drastic changes and stick to the team that has given them consistent results during the last two seasons.
Punjab Kings have a complete squad available for this game. KL Rahul is likely to stick with the team that featured in defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Predicted Starting XI:
Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henrique, Fabian Allen, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin
Key Battle to Watch Out
Rohit Sharma has managed to get good starts in IPL 2021 but failed to make it in a big score. The Indian opener has got 30s and 40s to his name but always got out at the wrong time. He is due a big score, but Punjab Kings will be looking to put him under pressure by bringing Murugan Ashwin in attack during powerplay overs. Sharma has been lately troubled by wrist spinners.
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