New Delhi: With the Indian Premier League rolling into its third week now, the first game fixture for the week is between two complete opposite franchises. On one hand, we have the exuberant Mumbai Indians dancing to their winning streak; while on the other hand, we have Kings XI Punjab failing to strike it out on alien conditions thus tumbling down to three successive defeats.
Unlike previous seasons, Mumbai Indians have picked up their winning gear well ahead in the tournament. They kicked off their campaign with a defeat against their Maharashtrian neighbour, Pune, but bounced back to win the next four matches.
Kings XI Punjab, who had a rather dismal season last year, started off strong, winning both matches at home. But fell off their form, once they were tested on away conditions, losing three in a row. And with the Kings returning to their home arena, they indeed will be looking to assign two points to their name.
Here are the players to watch out for…
Kings XI Punjab
Axar Patel- If there is one player that has struck the right chord, amid the team’s loitering form, it is Axar Patel who has rather outshined, both his economical spell and his boundary hitting ability. As for this match, skipper Glenn Maxwell will be looking to introduce him early to strike off Rohit Sharma, who has indeed been slippery against the spinner this season.
Manan Vohra- Stepping out as an opener, this batsman has rather failed to provide his team with the initial momentum, as he has faltered early on most occassions. However, it was the last match, against Sunrisers Hyderabad, where Vohra played the innings of his life to blast 95 off 50 deliveries to bring hope to Punjab in their dying stage. With an expected confidence still brewing within him, he will defintely be the 'player to look out for.'
Nitish Rana- Among the many local players making quite a blaze this season, Nitish Rana stands tall on the list with his run tally at 193 off the five matches played at a commendable strike rate of 138.60. His ability to combine single with boundaries and sixes and also maintaining a certain calmness, despite pressure, is what makes him 'a player to watch out for'.
Kieron Pollard-Stemming up from his rather poor Big Bash League, the West Indian batsmen finally returned to form when he struck 70 off just 47 deliveries to gift his side a high-flaming victory over RCB at Chinnaswamy stadium. And then having maintained his consistency, Pollard recived immense appreciation from Aussie great Ricky Ponting who called him 'one off the best T20 batsmen ever.'