After a long break, Punjab return to IPL 2018 action against Mumbai on Friday. The match will be played at Indore. It's Punjab's first home game here having played the previous ones in Mohali. With five wins in seven games, Ravichandran Ashwin's men will look to strengthen their position in the top half of table. Mumbai, on the other hand, are presently propping the table and will see their campaign go up in smoke if another defeat comes their way today. Let's take a look at the players who could influence the outcome of the contest for both teams.
Chris Gayle (KXIP): The West Indian has taken everyone aback with his scintillating form. That Punjab find themselves in such a comfortable position is largely due to his exploits with the bat, including a century. Mumbai know very well that if they could get Gayle out cheaply, half the job is done. However, on the evidence of the Mumbai bowlers' current form it could very well prove to be a Herculean task.
Rohit Sharma (MI): One of the reasons behind defending champions Mumbai's shocking performance this season is Rohit Sharma's inconsistency with the bat. He came good in two matches and both matches Mumbai won fairly comfortably. It's now or never today for Mumbai and they desperately need their captain to go all out and deliver the goods. And, to be honest, that kind of situation makes him a dangerous prospect. Punjab will have to watch out for him.
Ankit Rajpoot (KXIP): With a season-best 5/14 against Hyderabad in Punjab's last match, Rajpoot gave a great account of his talent. It was a shame that Punjab still ended up losing the game after an inexplicable batting collapse in pursuit of a lowly 133. Because of his height, Rajpoot gets extra bounce and that has proved a nuisance for opposition batsmen. His angled deliveries are a matter of concern too. MI will have to deal well him if they are to check a team that is currently miles ahead of them.