The Mumbai Indians (MI) will take on the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in game 23 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune on Wednesday. Mumbai are on a four-match losing streak and would seek inspiration from the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who registered their first win of IPL 2022 on Tuesday. In their previous match, MI were handed a seven-wicket hammering by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). As for Punjab, they have played four matches so far and have had a mixed run, winning two and losing two. In their last match, they went down to the Gujarat Titans (GT) in a last-ball thriller. Ahead of the MI vs PBKS, here are five player battles to watch out for.
1. Ishan Kishan vs Vaibhav Arora: MI opener Ishan Kishan began the IPL on an impressive note, scoring half-centuries in the first two matches. He followed up an unbeaten 81 against the Delhi Capitals (DC) with 54 against the Rajasthan Royals (RR). In the last two matches though, he hasn’t scored many. With Rohit Sharma struggling for fluency, MI will hope for Kishan to take charge. If he gets going, the aggressive left-hander can score at a really fast pace. He will be up against pacer Vaibhav Arora at the start of the innings. Arora has made a good impression with his pace and movement and will look to knock over Kishan early.
2. Mayank Agarwal vs Jasprit Bumrah: There were high hopes from PBKS skipper Mayank Agarwal when IPL 2022 began. But, to be honest, he has been a disappointment so far. In four matches, he has registered scores of 32, 1, 4, and 5. The pressure of leading the side is probably getting to him, although he has been rather calm and composed as captain. Punjab will need a good start from him at the top of the order. At the other end, Mumbai pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will be expected to strike early. As we have seen in this IPL, MI are heavily dependent on Bumrah to deliver the early blows. If he can knock over Agarwal cheaply, Punjab will once again be under pressure at the start of the innings.
3. Suryakumar Yadav vs Rahul Chahar: Suryakumar Yadav has returned to MI camp with a bang following his struggles with injury. He has scored two sparkling fifties in the two matches he has played so far and has, by far, been the best batter on show for the team. Although Mumbai have lost both the matches he has scored in; his form will give the team hopes of a revival. The MI vs PBKS clash will see leggie Rahul Chahar up against his former franchise. It was at MI that Chahar first made an impression. He has been excellent for PBKS in matches so far, troubling batters with his zing and picking up key wickets. The young spinner will be keen to make an impression against his former franchise.
4. Liam Livingstone vs Murugan Ashwin: Liam Livingstone has been in terrific big-hitting form for PBKS in the last two games. He has smashed the ball from the middle of the bat and has cleared the boundaries with ease. The England all-rounder has been playing exactly the kind of knocks that have been expected from him. Against MI, he will be up against leggie Murugan Ashwin, who has done a decent job for the franchise so far. Can Ashwin come up with a dream delivery to knock over the dangerous Livingstone?
5. Kieron Pollard vs Arshdeep Singh: Kieron Pollard has not had a great run so far, but given his experience, he will be expected to deliver at the death if he gets a chance to bat. In case Pollard gets away, he can be highly dangerous. At the death, Pollard will face stiff opposition from Arshdeep Singh, who is capable of finding the block hole. This could be a close tussle.