The Mumbai Indians will be looking to consolidate their good recent form with a victory against a beleaguered but improving Kings XI Punjab on Friday at the ACA-VDCA Stadium.
Match Odds & Game Preview
With four wins in their last five, the Indians have tiptoed their way into the top four of the IPL 9 league table, and they will be very keen to stay there with an eminently winnable match against a Kings XI Punjab side that has lost 70% of their matches this term.
The key to Mumbai’s resurgence has surely been their bowling attack. Bar the aberration against the Sunrisers on Sunday, the trio of Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee and Jasprit Bumrah, with spin support from Harbhajan Singh and Krunal Pandya, have kept their opponents to targets that are well within their batting colleagues’ range – 151, 159 and 174 the most recent examples.
The reverse fixture against the Kings also provided a watershed moment: it was the first time that the Blues had set a target (189/6) and prevented the opposition from chasing it down (164/7).
McClenaghan, the current Purple Cap holder, has impressed in particular with his aggressive changes in length, and on a pitch that has proven tricky to score on he should come into his own once again.
Three of the four innings played at the ACA-VDCA Stadium thus far have finished under the 140 mark, so we can surmise that it is a slow track that is proving a nightmare to score on.
Kings XI Punjab
What we must not do is dismiss the Kings XI so readily, however. They defeated the Delhi Daredevils on Saturday and suffered an agonising one run defeat to the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday, so they are clearly on an upward curve.
But their problem has been taking wickets at key times, and against this powerful Mumbai batting attack that could prove so decisive.
Betting Tip: As a result, we’ll be taking Sharma’s Indians to prevail on Friday at 1.61 courtesy of bet365.
Top Batsmen Betting Picks
There hasn’t been a particular theme for the Mumbai Indians as far as their batsmen are concerned, and in truth they seem to have a more prolific top six – rather than just one or two individuals doing the donkey work – than any other side in the tournament.
For instance, five of their top order batsmen have scored more than 30 in an innings in their last four outings, and Jos Buttler, who hasn’t been at his absolute best, has weighed in with some timely late pyrotechnics on more than one occasion.
That consistency should help the Indians proceed in this tournament; although it doesn’t help us identify their top batsman with any ease.
Betting Pick: But with the Kings XI bowlers struggling to contain their opponents in recent matches – they’ve gone for 175, 172 and 164 in recent times – we have to expect a batsman of the quality of Rohit Sharma to make hay while the sun shines. He’s available at 3.20 with bet365.
Betting Pick: In life there are certain unwritten rules, and when you see Hashim Amla available at 3.75 with Bet365 in a Top Batsmen market he has to be backed.
He hasn’t hit the ground running as yet in IPL 9 after his late call up, but surely it is just a matter of time.
Betting Tips: There’s a reason why McClenaghan is wearing that Purple Cap; and is certainly not as a fashion statement. Quite simply, he is bowling better than anybody else in the competition. Surprising then to see him available at a best price of 4.33 with bet365 to be the Mumbai Indians’ Top Bowler here; take that price with confidence.
In the News
 stuff.co.nz, Kiwi paceman Mitchell McClenaghan defies his miserly IPL pricetag, 2016