Match 16 IPL 2017 (2017-04-16) @ Mumbai (WS)
Mumbai won both the matches between these two sides in the Lions first IPL season last year.
Mumbai are on a roll having won their last three matches. In the process they have beaten two of the other top sides KKR and SRH. They won all 3 matches by bowling first and restricting the opposition to low scores using their strong bowling attack. In the run chases their middle order has got them home on each occasion. Mumbai\'s current weakness is their top order batting.
The Lions recorded their first victory on Friday chasing down 171 scored by Pune. It was the Lions first time chasing this season having batted first in their first two matches. The statistics show that they prefer chasing winning over 80% of matches where they bat second.
The Lions looked a far better side with the introduction of Andrew Tye as a bowler and the dropping of Jason Roy as a batsman. Tye took 5 wickets on his IPL debut. They still have plenty of strength in their batting. The return of Jadeja was costly but they will be happy he is back from injury.
Mumbai are rightly favorites for this match at around 1.78 early on Betfair. They are rated 96 Cricsq points compared to 87 for the Lions. Mumbai also have a great record Wankhede Stadium winning over 60% of their matches there.
This match is a day game so the recent bias in favor of the team batting second here should not be as strong due with the dew playing no role. Having said that both teams prefer chasing. The Lions have a 80% win rate chasing and Mumbai a 68% win rate chasing since 2014. For this reason I shall wait for the toss and back the chasing team.
Throughout the IPL it has down to Rana, Pollard and the Pandya brothers to get Mumbai out of trouble. Hardik Pandya was the hero of their first two matches with quick-fire 30s. Krunal Pandya has contributed in the last two. Pollard was sensational against RCB on Friday. Coming in at 7 for 4 he paced a brilliant 70 to see his team home. Nitish Rana has been steady with scores of 34, 50, 45 and 11.
The top 3 of Buttler, Parthiv Patel and Rohit Sharma are yet to make a significant contribution. Rohit in particular has failed to find form. He is currently a walking wicket batting at 3, with just 9 runs in 4 innings.
It would be unthinkable to drop Rohit as he is captain of the side and has a mountain of IPL runs behind him. Buttler is a great player but he is out of form. Now might be the time to give Lendl Simmons a go at the top of the order.
Mumbai have a very strong balling attack. Krunal Pandya and Harbhajan Singh have been extremely economical spinners. Krunal has taken 4 wickets and gone for 7.1 an over. Harbhajan has two wickets going at 6.1 an over.
In the death overs Bumrah and Malinga are two of the best in the world. Bumrah has 4 wickets going at 8.2 an over and Malinga 3 wickets going at 8.2. They also have Hardik Pandya to bowl some pace. He has 3 wickets going at 7.4.
For they overseas bowlers they have used McClenaghan, Southee and Malinga so far. Both McClenaghan and Southee have been expensive going at over 9 an over. McClenaghan is their top wicket taker with 5 wickets but they might want to consider giving Mitchell Johnson a chance.
The Lions played 4 overseas batsman in their first two matches. Chasing against Pune they dropped Jason Roy leaving Dwayne Smith, McCullum, and Finch as their overseas batsmen. This allowed them to bring in Andrew Tye to bowl.
The India players Raina and Karthik has both been in form. Raina has 108 runs and Karthik 80. They introduced Ishan Kishan into the side on Friday to replace Roy in the batting. He did not have to bat.
Dwayne Smith opened instead of Roy and got the team off to a flying start in the run chase. He scored 47 off 30 balls. McCullum was also back on form with 49 off 32. The openers killed off the Pune bowlers and made the chase of 171 very easy for the remaining batsmen.
Aaron Finch also looked good in the middle order scoring 33 of 19 balls. This included 2 huge sixes. The return of Jadeja gives the team a more balanced feel but the team lacks a proper all-rounder to give the batting depth. Playing 6 specialist batsmen means that if they do not perform the team is in trouble.
With Bravo injured Faulkner is an option in the squad to perform this role. However, it would mean dropping another overseas batsman, so would make no sense if the goal was to strengthen the batting.
The dropping of Jason Roy made space for Perth seamer Andrew Tye to make his IPL debut on Friday. He took a hat-trick and ended with 5 for 17 off his 4 overs. Having only taken one wicket in their first two matches this is exactly what the team needed.
Jadeja was back in the team against Pune. He is a class bowler but went for 40 runs in his 4 overs taking 1 wicket. Fellow spinner Shadab Jakati also went for over 10 an over. Shivil Kaushik has also struggled for them in the spin department. The Lions need Jadeja back in form to strengthen their spin bowling.
Praveen Kumar was poor against Pune going at almost 13 an over but he is a class act and has been economical in the previous matches. Thampi was good against Pune going at just 7 an over. Dhawal Kulkarni missed the Pune match after going at 13 an over in the first 2 matches.
The Indian bowlers in the team have been far too expensive throughout the competition. They need to up their game if the Lions are going to do well through the season. They have no chance of defending totals if they carry on like this.
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