MI vs PBKS IPL 2023: In-form Mumbai Indians in battle vs Punjab Kings
Having rediscovered their mojo after three wins on the bounce after a familiar slow start, five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians will look to continue their momentum when they face an inconsistent Punjab Kings in their sixth game of IPL 2023, at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night. MI began their campaign on a wrong foot when they lost their opening two matches to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings. Already hampered by the absence of ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah, they looked to be sinking further when they lost English fast bowler Jofra Archer too due to an injury after the first game itself. However, like they’ve done many times in the past, MI shrugged off their initial setbacks, winning their next three games.
A key architect, surprise hero of their admirable comeback in IPL-2023 has been veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, who, with seven wickets in five games at an average of 20.42 and a superb economy rate of 7.15, has been their highest wicket-taker and the best bowler. Ignored at the mega auction for IPL-2022, the 34-year-old Chawla, who was bought for just Rs 50 lakhs by MI, rolled back the years when he took 3-22 against DC at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. Against the Sunrisers, he took the wickets of Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klaasen, taking 2-43 in four overs in a high-scoring game.
Chawla, along with Aussie pacers Jason Behrendorff (six wickets at an average of 20.16) and Riley Meredith (5 wickets at an average of 21.40) have ensured MI have done well to overcome the absence of Bumrah and Archer.
Much of the fate for this contest is likely to be decided by how MI’s star-studded batting line-up of skipper Rohit Sharma, fellow opener Ishan Kishan, world No. 1 T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav, in-form batsman Tilak Varma, all-rounder Cameron Green and Tim David tackle Punjab Kings’ pace troika of India left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh, South African pace ace Kagiso Rabada and stand-in captain, England’s all-rounder Sam Curran , who was named as the ‘Player of the Tournament’ for 2022 T20 World Cup.
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