Abu Dhabi: Coming off heartbreaking losses, the Indian Premier League (IPL) game between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will be a test of character for both sides as they look to regain momentum here on Thursday.
KXIP were at the receiving end of the highest successful run-chase in the tournament history as Rajasthan Royals overhauled a target of 224 with three balls to spare on Sunday.
While Kieron Pollard and Ishan Kishan led a remarkable fightback, chasing 202, Mumbai went down to Royal Challengers Bangalore in a Super Over.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians lost their opening game but bounced back to beat Kolkata Knight Riders. However, Rohit Sharma's men failed to cross the line against RCB.
Similarly, after losing to Delhi Capitals in their opener, KXIP came back strongly to register their first points by defeating RCB. But, despite a fabulous batting display, they lost to Rajasthan.
KXIP have failed to tighten the screws when it mattered most. In their two losses, they were in a good position but could not seize the big moments.
Their bowling looked out of sorts against Rajasthan as they failed to defend a big total with Rahul Tewatia hitting pacer Sheldon Cottrel for five sixes in an over to win the match for his team.
Even Mohammed Shami (3/53), who has been in brilliant form prior to that onslaught, was taken to the cleaners. Barring an economical spell by leggie Ravi Bishnoi (0/34), the other KXIP bowlers had an off day against Rajasthan.
Skipper K L Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have made inspiring starts this season, hitting a century and a fifty each, and getting the duo out early will be the key for Mumbai.
Against Rajasthan, the pair shared a 183-run opening stand with Agarwal scoring his maiden ton while Rahul, fresh from recording the highest score by an Indian in IPL history, hit a 54-ball 69.
Mumbai Indians are blessed with a splendid batting firepower with the likes of Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan in the top-order, followed by the big-hitting Pollard and Hardik Pandya.
A major cause of concern for them will be pace ace Jaspirt Bumrah's inconsistency. The speedster has picked up only three wickets in as many games and has failed to make the kind of impact that is expected from a bowler of his calibre.
Mumbai, though, will have the psychological advantage having played a game here before.
The teams (from): Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, James Neesham, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ishan Porel, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Krishnappa Gowtham, Harpreet Brar, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Simran Singh (wk), Jagadeesha Suchith, Tajinder Singh, Hardus Viljoen.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, James Pattison, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Prince Balwant Rai, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult.
Match starts at 7.30 pm IST