Ed Hawkins previews the IPL offering from Abu Dhabi on Thursday with the Royals required to learn new tricks
"The 15/2 Sportsbook offer about Pollard top scoring for Mumbai is a five-percentage point edge on two-year form and he seems to be striking it well"
Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians
Thursday October 1 15.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Kings XI conceded the highest chase in IPL history against Rajasthan Royals in a game which is being held up as a reason for the IPL's global appeal. The reality is that Rajasthan chased 223 because of incompetence and low-skill. Not so sexy, huh?
The five sixes Rahul Tewatia struck off Sheldon Cottrell look good in the scorebook. The truth is that it was atrocious bowling with long hops, half-volleys and full tosses meat and drink to even a club player.
At least Kings are living up their reputation, of sorts. Normally they like to slow burn towards oblivion but the Royals loss was more like a detonation. In short, Kings can bat but their bowling - particularly at the death - is chronic when they pair Cottrell and Shami. Chris Jordan needs to play instead of the former.
Possible XI Rahul, Agarwal, Pooran, Maxwell, Nai, Khan, Neesham, Jordan, Bishnoi, Shami, M Ashwin
Get it right, Mumbai
Mumbai Indians have two defeats from three and their speed of thought is crucial to reversing fortunes. Are they smart enough to recognise that the pace attack of Trent Boult, James Pattinson and Jasprit Bumrah needs to be broken up for another spin option?
Slow left-armer Ankul Roy could be a good option for them or they could pick offie Jayant Yadav. There are further possible changes which could make Mumbai the sort of force that doesn't succumb to a team as intellectually bankrupt as Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Ishan Kishan's fine knock against RCB, which earned them a tie in a chase of 206, could spell trouble for Quinton de Kock. With Saurabh Tiwary regaining fitness, that could free up a slot for all-rounders Sherfane Rutherford or Nathan Coulter-Nile. A good option considering Hardik Pandya is waiting to bowl.
Probable XI Rohit, De Kock, Yadav, Kishan, Pollard, Kardik, Krunal, Pattinson, Chahar, Boult, Bumrah.
Last year head-to-heads
MI 198-7 (Pollard 83, Shami 3-21) chased KP 197-4 (Rahul 100*, Hardik 2-57)
KP 177-2 (Rahul 71*, Krunal 2-43) chased MI (De Kock 60, M Ashwin 2-25)
Overall MI 13 KP 11
Four games in and we have one score of more than 162 - Mumbai's 195 against a potentially leaky Kolkata attack. Pre-tournament the Sheikh Zayed Stadium surface was expected to be difficult for batters with an average first-innings winning score of 155. Historically it is one of the trickiest batting pitches. The side batting first is in a conundrum, however. Do they go hard, looking for 170-180 because they're worried about dew or do they stick to the numbers? Sunrisers played it perfectly against Delhi on Tuesday, winning with 162.
Kings can trade short
These two sides almost always produce a thriller. Although the surface suggests runs will be at a premium, both outfits have looked vulnerable in the field so we cannot rule out a typical MI-Kings contest.
Despite Kings so often giving Mumbai a bloody nose the market is keen on the defending champions. The 8/111.74 is too short for us about an outfit which has its balance wrong.
We can see Kings flipping the odds here with their fast starters with bat and ball. Just remember that they will go round the park at the death so factor that in to your exit strategy.
A tacky wicket could be right up Kieron Pollard's street. The 15/2 Sportsbook offer about him top scoring for Mumbai is a five-percentage point edge on two-year form and he seems to be striking it well.
Glenn Maxwell could also shine. He looks big at 5/1 given he has consistently been notching wins at rates in the 20s and 30s in international and other franchise cricket.
KL Rahul has been price-boosted to 13/5 by Sportsbook for top Kings bat. It's a risk given the head-to-heads and he's winning in the 40% region.
For wickets, Kings probably won't find room for spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman. But they should. Sportsbook go 4/1 and we rate him shorter at 16/5. The issue might be that the wicket, although slow, offers less turn than others.
You betting guide to this week's IPL on Cricket...Only Bettor
Ed Hawkins IPL P-L
+8 (13pts staked)