Tendulkar set to return against Punjab
Match factsSunday, April 22, Mumbai
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Mumbai Indians have had a five-day break since their capitulation to Delhi Daredevils in front of their home crowd. Their much vaunted batting line-up collapsed for 92, their second lowest total in IPL and without Harbhajan Singh's 33, the story could have been even worse. Since then, they have had good and bad news. Good news: Sachin Tendulkar will make a comeback after missing the previous four games. That should bring some confidence back in an otherwise inconsistent batting line-up.
But then there is the bad news. Lasith Malinga, who didn't play that game against Daredevils, is back in Sri Lanka with a troublesome back. In his absence, Mumbai Indians' bowling could lose its sting. Clint McKay, even with his regular changes of pace, doesn't pose the same threat, while RP Singh could be erratic. Harbhajan Singh is in a similar position to what Sourav Ganguly, his only victim in the tournament so far, had been - struggling to make an impact with his bowling. Ganguly acquitted himself with an all-round performance in Delhi. How will Harbhajan react?
Kings XI Punjab have problems of their own. Their team is overly dependent on their imports. They would hope to conjure some surprise in a match where the stakes are heavily in Mumbai Indians' favour. Azhar Mahmood has been a welcome addition and Parvinder Awana worked up decent pace against Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, Adam Gilchrist's availability remains uncertain.
Players to watchAzhar Mahmood is a veteran of Twenty20 cricket. He has scored 2390 runs at a strike-rate of 143.97 and has 118 wickets against his name. The quality of his shot-making was on display against Royal Challengers as he slammed a 14-ball 33. A good all-round day for Mahmood could easily translate to a good day for Kings XI.
Munaf Patel will have the responsibility of leading Mumbai Indians' bowling attack. Munaf has picked up wickets, while being economical, and he would fancy his chances against Kings XI in a bid to get the purple cap back.
Mumbai Indians played Kings XI twice in 2011. They won the home game by 23 runs after fifties from Tendulkar and Ambati Rayudu but lost the away game by 76 runs as they were bowled out for 87, their lowest score in IPL.
Stats and trivia
- Sachin Tendulkar is the top boundary-hitter in IPL. He has hit 219 fours in 52 innings.
- Praveen Kumar has bowled 208.2 overs in IPL, which is only second to Irfan Pathan's 212.3. Praveen tops the list for runs conceded with 1653.
- Mumbai Indians' overall win-loss record is 3-5 against Kings XI
Quotes"He's fine to play and is playing tomorrow."
Robin Singh, Mumbai Indians' coach on Sachin Tendulkar
"He has played a lot of Twenty20 cricket all over the world. You just saw, in the very first game, the way he batted for our team and the way he bowled."
Piyush Chawla on Azhar Mahmood's debut in IPL 2012
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.