Fixture No.16 of the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League will take place at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday 16th April, and will see the table topping Mumbai Indians play host to the Gujarat Lions, who after such an impressive debut season in the tournament in 2016, are struggling to find the same level of performance this time around.
Ahead of Saturday’s fixtures, the top five sides in the table have all lost just one game each, However, it is the Indians who lead the way, as they have played four times already, and won on three occasions, the only side to have done so, going into the weekend’s schedule of matches.
The Lions meanwhile, have managed just one win in three attempts. That did however, come in their most recent outing, against the Rising Pune Supergiants.
The Wankhede Stadium is usually a batsmen’s delight in T20 cricket, with the average first innings score at the venue being an astonishing 188, with the second innings average not far behind, being 183. The highest ever total posted on the ground, was England’s 230-8 during the World Cup against South Africa.
The Indians will certainly be looking for more runs from the top of their order. Last time out, against RCB, a Samuel Badree hat-trick left them floundering on 7-4, with the game looking lost. However, Kieron Pollard smashed an amazing 70 off of 47 balls to dig his side out of the mire.
There are also concerns about the skipper, Rohit Sharma’s lack of ability to pick the googly. He has now been undone three times by that delivery, Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan and Badree all claiming his scalp.
However, on the plus side, the all-round form of the Pandya brothers has been a major factor in the side’s success to date. Krunal in particular, made a composed 37 off of 30 balls against RCB, having previous scored 37 from just 20 deliveries against the Sunrisers. His left-arm spin has also proved useful during the middle overs of the opposition innings.