In-form teams push for semi-final berths

The fortunes of both Mumbai and Punjab have changed remarkably since their first meeting in the Indian Premier League. Back then, both teams had lost their first two games and the match in Mohali ended with Harbhajan Singh slapping Sreesanth

Nagraj Gollapudi

Match facts

Tuesday, May 21, 2008
Start time 16.00 (local), 10.30 (GMT)

Mumbai will miss Dwayne Bravo's skills with the bat, ball, and in the field ©

The Big Picture

The fortunes of both Mumbai and Punjab have changed remarkably since their first meeting in the Indian Premier League. Both teams had lost their first two games going into that match in Mohali, which ended with Harbhajan Singh slapping Sreesanth. Since then, Punjab have moved to second place in the league; Mumbai have strung together six wins in a row; Harbhajan has been banned for the rest of the tournament; and Sreesanth's bowling form has improved considerably.
Punjab have won seven games out of ten but another victory would virtually ensure a spot in the final four. Their top order - especially Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach - has been producing excellent starts, and Mahela Jayawardene, who has had a quiet tournament, came good to clinch a run-chase by the D/L method against Delhi. Their other strength is the ability of their medium-pacers to consistently hit the blockhole during the final overs.
The stakes are higher for Mumbai, though, for they have climbed off the bottom of the table into contention for the semis by moving into fourth place. They have the winning momentum and two games in hand over Delhi and Kolkata, the other contenders for the last semi-final berth. However, they are without Dwayne Bravo, a crucial allrounder in their line-up, and will have to fill his slot with one of the two new arrivals, Dwayne Smith and Andre Nel.

Tournament position

Mumbai Indians: P10, W6, L4, NRR +0.727
Kings XI Punjab: P10, W7, L3, NRR +0.475

Form (last five matches, most recent first)

Mumbai Indians: WWWWW
Kings XI Punjab: WWLWW

Watch out for...

  • Sanath Jayasuriya, who has spoilt the Mumbai crowd with his spectacular batting; the Wankhede will expect nothing less
  • VRV Singh, Sreesanth and Pathan. They've ensured that teams haven't been able to accelerate during the final overs with a consistent block-hole length.
  • More consistency from Marsh at the top, setting up the platform for the middle-order to accelerate.
  • Team news

    The vacancy created by Bravo's departure will be filled by either Smith or Nel and Tendulkar said they would make the decision on Wednesday. Both Shaun Pollock and Dhawal Kulkarni missed the game against Deccan Chargers because of injuries and they too will be assessed on match day. If Pollock isn't fit, Nel will almost certainly make his IPL debut.
    Mumbai Indians (probable): 1 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Dominic Thornley, 5 Dwayne Smith, 6 Shaun Pollock, 7 Abhishek Nayar, 8 Yogesh Takawale (wk), 9 Dhawal Kulkarni, 10 Rohan Raje, 11 Ashish Nehra
    Yuvraj Singh, the Punjab captain, said Kumar Sangakkara was yet to recover fully from his side strain. VRV was also reported to have a back strain. It is unlikely that Punjab will play both spinners Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar and the medium-pacer Gagandeep Singh is likely to replace Powar.
    Kings XI Punjab (probable): 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 James Hopes, 3 Luke Pomersbach, 4 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Gangandeep Singh, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Uday Kaul (wk), 10 Sreesanth, 11 VRV Singh.

    Stats and trivia

  • Punjab's 66-run win against Mumbai in Mohali remains second on the list of largest victories in terms of runs.
  • Andre Nel has conceded 5.25 per over in his two Twenty20 internationals and 5.77 per over in 18 domestic matches.
  • Tendulkar has scored only 35 runs in three games at a strike-rate of only 92.10.
  • Quotes

    "It's the biggest game for us, but I have been telling the boys not to focus on winning just this particular game but all the games because we have seen how important momentum has been in the tournament."
    Punjab coach Tom Moody on the clash against Mumbai.
    "Yuvraj is capable of turning the match in an over. So he will always be a danger."
    Sachin Tendulkar isn't under-estimating Yuvraj, even though he hasn't fired yet.

    Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo