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IPL 2019: Controversy-hit Kings XI Punjab look for home advantage against Mumbai Indians

It has been a roller-coaster ride for KXIP in IPL 2019, having to endure a controversy involving their captain Ravichandran Ashwin who ‘Mankaded’ Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler in their first match, an act which was legal but criticised by some as against the ‘Spirit of Cricket’.

cricket Updated: Mar 30, 2019 11:32 IST
PTI
PTI
Mohali
IPL 2019,Kings XI Punjab,Mumbai Indians
Kings XI Punjab's captain Ravichandran Ashwin, right talks to bowler Hardus Viljeoen during an IPL match.(AP)

A controversy-laden first two games at their back, Kings XI Punjab will look to exploit familiar conditions in their first home match of the IPL when they take on Mumbai Indians in Mohali on Saturday.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for KXIP, having to endure a controversy involving their captain Ravichandran Ashwin who ‘Mankaded’ Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler in their first match, an act which was legal but criticised by some as against the ‘Spirit of Cricket’.

In their second game against Kolkata Knight Riders, Ashwin’s team was penalised for not keeping four men in the 30-yard circle and Andre Russell made full use of the reprieve to take the game away from KXIP.

Ashwin and Co. will now look to forget all these unsavoury happenings of the first two games and start afresh in their first match at the PCA Stadium on Saturday. With the tournament still in its early stages and the two teams having won a game each, the balance is not tilted in anyone’s favour and the Saturday’s tie is expected to be a keenly fought one.

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The two rival sides boast of some star players in their line-up and each team will hope to its best when it matters.

KXIP, who are yet to win an IPL title, opened their campaign this season on a winning note against Rajasthan Royals. But, the match caught the headlines more for Ashwin’s ‘Mankading’ of Buttler that triggered a dramatic collapse for the Royals. Kings XI eventually won by 14 runs.

That particular game also saw KXIP’s opener Chris Gayle in prime form as he blasted 79 off just 47 balls while Sarfaraz Khan remained unbeaten on 46 off 29, giving the Ashwin-led side a boost in the batting department.

Against KKR, the KXIP lost by 28 runs after chasing a mammoth 219 for victory even though Mayank Aggarwal and David Miller impressed with their batting.

Andre Russell’s sensational 17-ball 48 and Robin Uthappa’s 67 not out and Nitish Rana’s 63 left KXIP bowlers in a daze. Even the likes of Ashwin and speedster Mohammed Shami did not have an answer to KKR’s blitzkrieg.

For KXIP, opener Lokesh Rahul is yet to hit his top form, managing just five runs from previous two outings, and he will be hoping to get back to his best in Mohali.

ALSO READ: IPL 2019, KXIP vs MI: Kings XI Punjab Predicted XI against Mumbai Indians

On the other hand, Mumbai Indians have come into this match, having notched up a 6-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, with India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah stamping his class.

For Mumbai, Rohit Sharma (48 of 33) and Hardik Pandya’s 14-ball 32 stood out as they set up a target of 188 for RCB to chase. Mumbai were almost blown away by AB de Villiers’ 41-ball 70 not out, but the Rohit Sharma-led side won the match in controversial circumstances with the umpires failing to call Lasith Malinga’s final delivery a no ball which left India and RCB captain Virat Kohli seething in anger.

Bumrah impressed in the game against RCB, returning with figures of 4-0-20-3, something most bowlers will envy in this format of the game.

Yuvraj Singh, who started the season on a classy note by hitting a sublime half-century against Delhi Capitals and managing 23 against RCB, will be eager to make a mark in Mohali, which happens to be his ‘home ground’.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 10:46 IST