Sinking Punjab run into ruthless Mumbai
Tuesday, May 10, Mohali
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
When Kings XI Punjab last won an IPL game - against Rajasthan Royals on April 21 - Osama Bin Laden was still alive, and Chris Gayle was yet to arrive in India. A lot has happened since, and it's fair to say Adam Gilchrist's men are running out of time.
That win was Punjab's third in succession, and since then they have slumped to five straight defeats, without stretching any of their opponents. Even Pune Warriors, coming off a mind-numbing seven consecutive losses, had no problems overcoming Punjab. Paul Valthaty's season has unravelled after a strong opening, David Hussey has not pulled his weight in the middle order, and Gilchrist himself has been a big failure. He has five games left to turn things around, and even that may not be enough.
Mumbai Indians are all but through to the play-offs. Their campaign has been typified by efficiency with the bat, ruthlessness with the ball and brilliance in the field. They will want to lift their batting, particularly in the first half of the innings, as they brace for the business end of the tournament. Aiden Blizzard displayed the sparkle Mumbai needs, in their win against Delhi Daredevils. Sachin Tendulkar has gone off the boil after beginning the season well, and he will be keen to revive his form against Punjab's weak attack.
The form guide might indicate otherwise, but don't discount Punjab's chances on Tuesday. No. 10 beating No. 1 is the sort of upset Twenty20, and the IPL in particular, is made for.
Form guide (most recent first)
Punjab: LLLLL (tenth in points table)
Mumbai: WWWLW (first in points table)
David Hussey has scored 40 runs and gone wicketless in four games. Will Punjab drop him and include David Miller? Siddharth Chitnis and Mandeep Singh made up the numbers in the previous game, but Punjab's lack of quality options might give these players another chance.
Unless they want to rest Lasith Malinga or Harbhajan Singh, Mumbai have no reason to fiddle with their XI.
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In the spotlight
Adam Gilchrist is hopelessly out of form, but a player of his class is only a cut and a short-arm pull away from regaining touch. The last time these sides met, his old friend, Harbhajan Singh, nailed him for a duck in the first over. Expect Gilchrist to come out better equipped this time.
If Gilchrist gets past Harbhajan, he will come up against the chalk and cheese of fast bowling: Lasith Malinga swerves them in very full or very short at blistering pace, while Munaf Patel lands them right in between those two lengths at a sedate trundle. Together, the pair has accounted for 36 scalps this season, and looks good for more.
- With 57 wickets, Malinga is one scalp away from tying with RP Singh as the highest wicket-taker in IPL history. RP Singh has played 53 games, while Malinga's wickets have come in only 36 matches
- Among batsmen with over 1000 IPL runs, only two average in excess of 40 - Tendulkar (41.48) and Shaun Marsh (52.20)
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Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo