Mumbai Indians will be hosting Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. The three-time winners are on a roll after their two straight convincing wins over Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past one week and will be aiming to continue their winning momentum. At the same time, Mumbai will also look to overcome their eight wicket loss against Punjab in the reverse fixture. Kings XI Punjab on the other hand will be hoping to register their fifth win of this season at MI's fortress.
Here's a look at some of the key ingredients which will make this a contest to watch out for.
1. The Caribbean rivalry: Wednesday's game will witness a Caribbean rivalry as Alzarri Joseph will challenge his West Indian team-mate Chris Gayle. While Gayle will look to go berserk at the Wankhede Stadium, Joseph will look to make the explosive Punjab opener unsettled. Gayle not only became the fastest batsman to score 4000 runs in IPL history but he is the only person in the tournnament's history to hit 300 sixes. Meanwhile, Joseph had a dream start to his IPL career against Sunrisers Hyderabad where took 6-12 and surpassed Sohail Tanvir's 6/14 to register the best bowling figures in IPL history.
2. Rohit Sharma's injury scare: Just a few days before India's World Cup squad will be announced, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma pulled his hamstring during the practice session ahead of the game against Kings XI Punjab. The dashing opening batsman looked uncomfortable and was in excruciating pain. The physio immediately came and attended him. However, Sharma did not take any further part in the training as he limped back off the field. The Mumbai Indians management are yet to provide an official update regarding the seriousness of their captain's injury.
3. Head-to-head records: Mumbai Indians hold a slight advantage over Kings XI Punjab in terms of overall head-to-head records. In the 23 matches involving both sides, Mumbai have won 12 games while Punjab have won on 11 occasions. Mumbai also hold an edge over Punjab at home with a 5-4 victory margin in nine games.
4. KL Rahul's solid performance: Rahul has succeded in providing a good start for Punjab. He has anchored Punjab's innings by remaining unbeaten and helping his team get over the line. He has so far amassed 217 runs in six matches at a strike rate of 122.59 which includes three half-centuries.
5. Hardik Pandya's impact: Mumbai Indians will be hoping for Pandya's exploits with the bat during the middle and death overs once again. At the same time, they will also be hoping the youngster to pick up a wicket or two with the ball.