Mumbai Indians (MI) are yet to win their first game of IPL 2022 and will look to arrest their losing slide against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Wednesday (April 13).
Punjab are coming off a loss as well after Rahul Tewatia’s pyrotechnics for Gujarat Titans (GT) took the game away from them. They now have a chance to break into the top five if they get another win against a faltering Mumbai unit.
Both sides boast of match winners, although much of the stress will be on Mumbai as they look for that elusive first win. They can take heart from the fact that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bounced back from a similar situation.
Ahead of the marquee IPL 2022 clash, we take a look at the three player battles to watch out for.
#1 MI’s Ishan Kishan vs Rahul Chahar
After being dismissed by a leg-spinner thrice in his last four encounters against them, Punjab may tinker with the prospect of pitting Rahul Chahar against swashbuckling batter Ishan Kishan.
Chahar has been the side’s leading wicket-taker with seven wickets from four games, while Ishan Kishan has led the run-scorers list for Mumbai with 175 runs from four matches. The southpaw vs the tweaker will be a cracking contest.
#2 Jasprit Bumrah vs Shikhar Dhawan
Another mouth-watering contest between a veteran left-handed batter and India’s best seamer to date — Dhawan vs Bumrah will set the tone and perhaps even decide the final outcome.
Bumrah hasn’t been among the wickets in IPL 2022. He has three wickets to show in four games, and batters seem happy playing him off and finding the odd boundary.
Dhawan has been a busy player in the powerplay, scoring 127 runs from four matches at a strike rate of 129.59.
#3 Suryakumar Yadav vs Kagiso Rabada
Punjab will have to bring their A-game as far as their bowling is concerned, and they will be wary of the dangerous form Suryakumar Yadav has been since his return from injury.
SKY has scores of 52 and 68* in his last two games and has looked fluent, flamboyant and dangerous. Rabada has four wickets from three games at an economy rate of 8.60.
Will the South African seamer get the better of Mumbai’s in-form batter? Only time will tell.