Mohali: Even as they struggle to find the winning formula, laggards Kings XI Punjab will still fancy their chances when they host Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League cricket here on Monday.
Mumbai Indians have so far had a mixed bag having won two games against Kings XI Punjab at home and Royal Challengers Bangalore while losing four.
On the other hand, KXIP, whose performance in the tournament so far has been pedestrian, have managed to notch up just one win from five outings and are placed at the bottom of the points table among the eight teams.
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai side suffered defeats against Rising Pune Supergiants, Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils.
In their last match played at Delhi yesterday, the Mumbai outfit lost by 10 runs chasing a victory target of 165.
Rohit (65) and Krunal Pandya (36) were unfortunate to get run out as Mumbai could only manage 154/7.
MI initially struggled to get their team combination right but they did come good with a convincing chase of 170- plus score against Virat Kohli's RCB.
Two-time title winners, MI slumped to defeats in both their home matches this season to IPL debutants Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions and have now lost a game in their away campaign as well.
Mumbai's top-order batting has failed to come good so far barring the captain, who was instrumental in both their wins scoring superb half-centuries.
But in most games, the leading batsmen have failed to click as a unit. Martin Guptill, who replaced injured Lendl Simmons, failed to live upto the expectations in his first game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, prompting Mumbai team management to drop him against RCB and Delhi matches.
Much would depend on all-rounder Kieron Pollard as Mumbai look to keep up the pressure on struggling Punjab.
Englishman Jos Buttler disappointed in the previous game and India discard Ambati Rayudu is getting the starts but is not able to convert them into big knocks.
While Hardik Pandya has been off-colour, his brother Krunal Pandya is making the most of his opportunity with both bat and ball.
Mumbai Indians bowling depend upon the New Zealand duo of Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan to make early inroads and this combination is expected to continue against Punjab.
On the other hand, KXIP, who are led by newly appointed captain David Miller, were comprehensively defeated by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The KXIP batting has not been very consistent with only Manan Vohra putting up decent scores and others falling short of expectations.
Had it not been for the 17-ball 36 by lower-order batsman Axar Patel, Punjab could not have even set a target of 144 for SRH to chase on Saturday.
It's time the likes of Miller, Glenn Maxwell and Vohra come good with the bat. Shaun Marsh has been good in the last two games.
Miller feels every game from here on is crucial for the side.
"I think the guys are in high spirits, but the results haven't gone our way. We need one or two wins to get back. Winning every game becomes crucial from here on and we believe we can do it," he said after his side's loss to SRH.
Their bowling attack, comprising Sandeep Sharma, Kyle Abbott, Mohit Sharma and Axar Patel, also need to put up an improved performance.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, Corey Anderson, Unmukht Chand, Marchant de Lange, Siddhesh Lad, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Jitesh Sharma, Nathu Singh, Akshay Wakhare, Martin Guptill.
Kings XI Punjab: David Miller (capt), Kyle Abbott, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Anureet Singh, Axar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Pardeep Sahu, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Farhaan Behardien, KC Cariappa, Rishi Dhawan, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Nikhil Naik, Shardul Thakur.
Match starts at 8 PM.