Mumbai Indians Recent Form
Well, well, well. The IPL’s most successful side hasn’t won any of its five matches so far and making the Playoffs would require nothing short of a minor miracle from this position.
Their task is made harder by the fact that with the increase in teams from eight to ten and with the same four Playoff places up for grabs, it’s harder to recover from poor starts and still make the Playoffs than it used to be.
Just making the Playoffs from this position would almost be a minor miracle.
Betway make Mumbai 19.0 to win the IPL but that’s one of the worst bets you’re going to see in a long time.
They should probably be those odds to make the Playoffs, let alone to win the whole thing.
Because it’s not like they keep consistently losing tight matches by small margins.
Their loss to Punjab on Wednesday was probably the closest they came to actually winning a game and even then, they made a mess out of things in the chase.
Key man Kieron Pollard was needlessly run out, as was the in-form Vilak Sharma.
The last thing they need in this position is careless mistakes, especially from senior players like Pollard.
Where to start?
There are probably five or six changes they could make and when they’re at a stage where things can’t get any worse, they might as well make some.
For the second game running, they didn’t field their quota of four poversesa players.
Tymal Mills returned after being left out to join Kieron Pollard and South African smasher Dewald Brevis meaning that the likes of Tim David, Daniel Sams, Fabian Allen and Riley Meredith were all left out.
Why spend all that money on expensive overseas signings if you’re not going to play them?
Of those, Meredith and Allen are the ones yet to be given a chance to impress.
After a poor game last time out, where he was horribly expensive, Mills may be benched again with Meredith coming in for him, while Allen could grab that fourth overseas spot, possibly at the expense of Jaydev Unadkat.
That would give them an extra spin option, improve their batting and add an extra top-class fielder to the team.
But it really is anyone’s guess as to what they’re thinking in terms of team changes.
Player to Watch: Kieron Pollard
Pollard has been one of the very best T20 players ever since the format was introduced almost 20 years ago.
He’s been an absolute legend for Mumbai, led Trinbago to a CPL win in 2020 and is one of the most sought-after T20 players on the circuit.
So when it came to choosing which players to retain ahead of the 2022 IPL, Pollard was an easy choice for the Indians.
But he’s been really poor.
He’s scored just 57 runs in five knocks, averaging just 14. He hasn’t been that much better with the ball, either. He’s taken just one wicket and is going at 10 an over.
As for that run-out we mentioned already, that was beyond inexcusable.
Their race might be run but Pollard needs to step up and put in some big performances.
It’s 9.0 with Betway that he’s their top batsman here but the way things are going, that looks somewhat unlikely.
Mumbai’s Likely XI
Sharma, Kishan, Brevis, Yadav, Varma, Pollard, Allen, M Ashwin, Meredith, Bumrah, Thampi.
Lucknow Super Giants Recent Form
It’s been almost a week since Luckow Super Giants were last in action.
And it was a match they’ll feel got away from them when they could have won it.
They restricted Rajasthan to what was probably about 10 runs short of a par score, the Royals ending up with 165/6.
But then they started to try to be too clever. Not once but twice they promoted lower-middle order players up the order, twice they failed.
Hindsight is a fine thing but why didn’t they just bat Marcus Stoinis in his natural position at three or four? This is a world-class player we’re talking about, a recent World Cup winner no less so why on earth did he end up coming in at number eight?
In the end he smashed 38 off 17 to get them quite close but he may well have won them the match if he’d come in a bit earlier.
But to be fair to them, it’s one of the few mistakes they’ve made so far and with three wins in five, they’re still putting in a solid campaign.
Lucknow Super Giants Team News
Irrespective of the flawed batting order, the eleven they played on Sunday is arguably their best team.
The late arrivals of Jason Holder and Marcus Stoinis have really boosted the team because those are two of the best all-rounders in the business.
It gives them extra bowling options, Holder in particular, as well as giving them a much stronger batting line-up.
So the only real doubt is whether they’ll stick with Dushmantha Chameera or go back to Andrew Tye.
Chameera was very good last time out so the smart money is on the Sri Lankan playing again.
Player to Watch: Marcus Stoinis
A top-class batsman who can bat absolutely anywhere, can bowl at any stage of the innings and is a decent fielder is a captain’s dream and that’s precisely what Stoinis is.
The burly Australian can open the innings but with de Kock and KL Rahul around, he’s likely to bat at three or four or even be as a ‘floater’ meaning that they’ll bat him depending on the situation of the match.
This is a man with a T20 career high score of 147 not out (admittedly his only century), 20 fifties and a strike rate of 134.
His 38 off 17 on Sunday was just a taster of what he can do.
As we said already, he can also be a good bowler on his day though as an all-rounder, you’re not likely to see him bowl four overs too often.
With these attributes he’s both a permanent contender for top batsman and man-of-the-match.
He’s 5.5 for the first and 11.0 for the second with Betway.
Kolkata’s Likely XI
De Kock, Rahul, Stoinis, Hooda, Badoni, Holder, Krunal Pandya, Gowtham, Khan, Chameera, Bishnoi,
Venue & conditions
If it’s lots of runs you want to see, you’ve come to the right place.
In five first innings so far at the Brabourne Stadium, 210 was reached twice and the lowest total was 177.
So you’d think that backing 170 runs or more in the first innings runs market is something of a banker.
Three out of five games were won by the chaser but that’s a pretty even distribution compared to some of the other grounds.
So it’s not necessarily a case of always wanting to chase here.
That’s especially true of day-night games like this one, where there won’t be any dew, meaning that it’s not necessarily harder to bowl in the second innings.