Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) go head-to-head today against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. MI were in the midst of a two-game winning run till the previous match where a loss to Delhi Capitals (DC) has placed them at the fourth spot in the points table currently. They would desperately want a win today to ensure that they stay above the rest of the challengers for the top four.
PBKS haven’t been in the best of form. They have lost three matches in a row after a thrilling win in the first match against Rajasthan Royals (RR). There have been a plethora of issues concerning them like team combination, intent and especially the bowling attack. They would want to rectify all those today when they lock horns with the defending champions.
On that note, we take a look at how PBKS can beat MI.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs MI – Key for PBKS #1: Decide on the perfect team combination
The key problem concerning the Punjab Kings in the initial part of the tournament was that they had no depth in both batting and bowling. With six batsmen and five bowlers, both departments of the game were found wanting. In the previous match against SRH however, they decided to bring in two all-rounders in the form of Moises Henriques and Fabian Allen.
The move did not particularly work wonders but Allen did manage to pick up a wicket. The fact of the matter is however, that the move strengthened the batting depth while compromising on the quality of the bowling. With Allen, Henriques and Deepak Hooda being asked to share a minimum of 8 overs, the bowling does not look strong on paper. The PBKS management must look to change it and bring about balance by bringing in an extra specialist bowler.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs MI – Key for PBKS #2: Nicholas Pooran must fire
West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran is one of the most explosive batsmen and exciting talents in T20 cricket. After a promising season last year, Pooran has had a horror start to this year’s IPL. He has got out for a two-ball duck, golden duck and diamond duck in three of the four innings he has played. In the other innings, he got just 9 runs.
Bowlers have been making use of his tendency to go after the short ball and baited him into hitting it to the fielders. The 25-year-old must look to get his eye in before smashing balls around the park starting from todays’ game. If he keeps failing, PBKS might be tempted to bring in Dawid Malan. Pooran would hence, hold the key today and if he fires, the MI bowlers might find it difficult to stop him.