Ed Hawkins previews a clash between in-form Mumbai and a strong Kings XI on Wednesday
"We’re not sure that gulf is justified, even if the hosts have found rhythm. Mumbai are notoriously inconsistent on form from this year and last"
Mumbai Indians v Kings XI
Wednesday 10 April, 15:30
TV: live on BT Sport
Mumbai hit form
Mumbai Indians finally have some momentum after beating pre-tournament favourites Sunrisers Hyderabad and the holders Chennai Super Kings in their last two matches.
It's a toss-up which was the more impressive to be frank. Against Sunrisers they looked beat at the break having scrambled to an below-par 136. But they hit back with an extraordinary win, bowling out their rivals for just 96. Alzarri Joseph took six for 12.
Against Chennai they produced a more complete performance. Their 170 - thanks to a late, late assault from Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard - was competitive. With the ball they were miserly and after taking early wickets Chennai rather gave up the ghost.
Joseph's blitz gives them a dilemma. Do they continue to leave out Lasith Malinga, denying them their much-vaunted death-bowling unit alongside Jasprit Bumrah? Probably not. Jason Behrendorff, the Aussie who has only just arrived, may miss out. Suddenly from looking short on pace stock they're overflowing.
Curran and Rahul make KXI a potent force
Kings are four from six and are looking good for qualification to put a horrendous collapse in the second half of the campaign last year behind them. The reinforced their strong home form on Monday by holding their nerve in a chase against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Sunrisers are a portent here. Both Mumbai and Kings have squeezed their batting. Kings kept them to just 27 in the powerplay overs with Ankit Rajppot a star. Rajpoot is an unheralded pacer, not helped by the fact that he has played only twice. If he's in the XI it's a good indicator that Kings have their heads screwed on.
They have decent strength with the ball. So good that they can afford to leave out AJ Tye. Sam Curran's hat-trick and the form of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman has meant there is no room for the Australian. At some stage, though, Kings are going to have to pick a sixth bowling option - they only had five against Sunrisers - and we're sure that weakness will come back to bite them.
KL Rahul, who carried the Kings batting last year, is again the main man. He has three half-centuries and is beginning to chase down David Warner for top tournament runscorer honours.
Keep eye on chaser
The Wankhede is a reliable ground for batters over the last three years with the hit rate for 160-plus scores coming in at more than 70%. The first-innings average is 169 and there's a slight bias for the chaser. The wicket holds true - testament to that is four chases of more than 190. It's also worth noting that the chaser has a 90% win rate with zero wickets lost in the powerplay.
Kishan has to come in
Kings XI won the earlier contest between the two, chasing 177 without breaking sweat. It was at Mohali, though, so they are likely to find the trip down to Mumbai a tougher assignment.
Certainly the match odds market agrees. Mumbai are 1.774/5 with Kings 2.206/5. We're not sure that gulf is justified, even if the hosts have found rhythm. Mumbai are notoriously inconsistent on form from this year and last. They're also persisting with Yuvraj Singh, who continues to slow them down in the middle overs. Ishan Kishan is a must pick.
If Kings can get their bowling attack right, and the wicket suggests they need to, there could well be room for a trade in their odds. The potential for a fast start with Rahul and Chris Gayle also appeals in this regard.
Suryakumar Yadav is Mumbai's most consistent rungetter in the last year. Unheralded he is rarely a mug bet at prices of 7/2 (Sportsobook). Rohit Sharma is the 11/4 jolly but he's not as consistent as that in IPL. Rahul notched one of his fifties in that win against Mumbai and the 5/2 (Sportsbook) that he top scores for Kings is value. He's roughly a 2/1 chance on career franchise form. With a stat like that the only thing to worry about is whether he's seeing it okay and there were no problems on that score against Sunrisers.
Viljoen and Rajppot catch eye
We don't expect South African Hardus Viljoen to play but the 4/1 (Sportsbook) that he takes most wickets for Kings appeals. He has an excellent strike rate of 16 this term, second only to Sam Curran at 14 who, of course, has claimed a hat-trick. Curran is 7/1. Rajpoot is also underrated at 4/1. Viljoen surprised Mumbai with his pace in the earlier meeting, taking two wickets to share honours.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
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