King`s XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians - Indian Premier League Cricket Preview

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Published: 20/05/2014

The early league leaders in the 2014 IPL have almost confirmed their place in the knockout stages already, but the Kingís XI Punjab will be looking to finish top of the group stages table given the advantages that it confers later on in the competition. They continue their strong challenge in the 2014 IPL competition with this fixture against the Mumbai Indians. Mumbai have been the big underachiever in this seasonís IPL, and if they are to live up to their potential in this yearís competition then they need to start winning soon.

Another blow for the Mumbai Indians is that one of their star performers will now not be available for the rest of the competition. The so-called Sri Lankan slinger has flown to England to participate in his countryís tour of the nation. There will have been a few rueful expressions on members of the Mumbai hierarchy after Malinga took a hatful of wickets and claimed the man of the match award in Sri Lankaís T20 international win over England.

The spectacular start to this seasonís IPL competition made by the Kingís XI has seen them installed as favourites for the competition at this early stage. This has been something of a surprise, as they certainly werenít the most fancied team among the IPL contenders to reach the top of the table when the season begun. But the early form of the Kingís XI has ensured that they are backed by every bookmaker to go all the way to the final, and it it hard to disagree with this verdict given the current form of this Punjabi side.

Unquestionably, the big hit of the tournament for the Kingís XI has been Glenn Maxwell. The Australian batsman and useful occasional bowler gave indication of his ability in the winter ODIs which followed the Ashes demolition of England, and the 25 year-old has evidently gained confidence from this. Although Maxwell has yet to establish himself as a test regular, although his performances with the ball in his two tests to date were promising, he will surely be a big part of the Australian national side in years to come. Maxwell is also a more than useful bowler aside from his big hitting, so he offers a fantastic package to any team in this shortened form of the game.

Aside from Maxwell, the South African David Miller has made a fair few runs for the Kingís XI, chipping in with three useful fifties. Between Maxwell and Miller, the Kingís XI has made enough runs to set themselves up with the ball, and Virender Sehwag has delivered some typically destructive cameos as well. If T20 is a batting game, then the performances of the Kingís XI have backed up this notion so far.

Aside from having the tournamentís top run scorer, the Kingís XI has also delivered with the ball, with the wily medium pace of Sandeep Sharma and fast bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji being particularly impressive. Mumbai certainly look to be up against it with this line-up, especially as Malinga will be absent.

With a huge gap in their bowling all too evident, Mumbai Indians will look to the likes of the big hitting all-rounder Kieron Pollard and super experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to deliver outstanding performances. But I canít see them overcoming the league leaders without Malinga, so I would advise chalking this one up as another win for the Kingís XI.

Selection: Kingís XI Punjab to win

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