Punjab Kings (PBKS), who is lying at the bottom of the points table, have their task cut out when they face Mumbai Indians (MI) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Friday. Despite MI struggling with their middle-order batting, it will be a tough outing for PBKS.
The K.L. Rahul-led PBKS, who have won just one out of their four matches, have struggled with the bat in two games leaving opponents like SunRisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings stroll to easy wins.
When PBKS have done well with the bat, they have ended up conceding too many runs. They survived Sanju Samson's onslaught to somehow manage to beat RR by just four runs despite defending a mammoth total of 222. In the next match, they couldn't defend a target of 196, with DC chasing it down with six wickets and as many as 10 balls to spare.
It will be interesting to see if PBKS make changes to their batting line-up. Chris Gayle has struggled and so has his West Indies teammate Nicholas Pooran, who had a great run last season. PBKS may be tempted to bring in England's Dawid Malan for Pooran.
The one big hope for the Punjab franchise would be exploiting MI's out-of-form middle order that has struggled to get going on slow and spin-friendly Chennai surface.
They may hence be tempted to bring in Ravi Bishnoi, who did well last season and evoked comparisons with PBKS head coach and spin legend Anil Kumble.
This will only be the second match for PBKS at the Chepauk while MI have played all their matches. Despite the struggles experienced by their middle order, MI looked more at home than PBKS did in their nine-wicket defeat to SunRisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.
A weak and struggling PBKS could be just the thing that MI needed to get back to winning ways after their two-match winning run was broken by a defeat to Delhi Capitals in their previous game.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Adam Milne, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), James Neesham, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Marco Jansen, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Quinton De Kock (wicketkeeper), Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Yudhvir Singh.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (captain/wicketkeeper), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen , Saurabh Kumar.