Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss and chose to field against Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Rising Pune at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
While Punjab are at the bottom of the table with two points from five games, having won only one, sixth-placed Mumbai have been a victim of their inconsistency, winning two out of six matches.
Punjab come into the match after two successive losses against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The David Miller-led side will aim to put aside their previous defeats and avoid a hat-trick of losses.
Despite having match-winners like Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, David Miller and Murali Vijay in their ranks, Punjab have been inconsistent in their batting department.
The main reason for their batting failure is the disappointing show from the mainstays — Miller and Maxwell. While South African Miller has scored 46 runs so far, Australian hard-hitter Maxwell has made a bare 39. They have hardly put up enough runs on the board for their bowlers to make an impact.
In the bowling line-up, Mohit Sharma, Axar Patel, Sandeep Sharma will look to take a step ahead and put up a collective effort to stop the Mumbai batting powerhouse from exploding.
Mumbai have struggled to hit any rhythm but showed signs of getting their act together while successfully chasing 171 against Bangalore. But they again faltered against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday. They left it too late while chasing 165 in New Delhi.
Mumbai’s batting has lacked fluency. Their opening act has been poor with only skipper Rohit Sharma showing skill and zeal to fight it out against adversity.
Rohit has led from the front, scoring three half centuries. But head coach Ricky Ponting would like to have his other batsmen offer more to the cause. The side’s batting has been too dependent on the skipper and the extra burden on his shoulders proved costly in most occasions this campaign.
Kiwi Martin Guptill replaced injured West Indian Lendl Simmons but was dropped after flopping against Hyderabad.
Failure to get their team combination right has resulted in a series of losses for Mumbai.
But on Monday, it will be a fresh start for both the sides and Mumbai will look to get their third IPL title hopes back on track.
Parthiv Patel, despite getting starts, failed to convert it into big scores, while Jos Buttler, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya have not satisfied their fans.
In the absence of Lasith Malinga, Mumbai have been too dependent on Kiwi pacers Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan to give the team an early breakthrough and this combination is expected to continue against Punjab.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya will share the responsibility of ensuring the Punjab’s fragile middle order continues its poor show.
IPL 2016: Kolkata Knight Riders Win Toss, Opt To Field Against Rising Pune Supergiants