Richard Mann previews the Indian Premier League clash between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab and fancies the home outfit to prove too strong.
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Kings XI Punjab are in freefall and must be opposed when they take on Mumbai Indians in the IPL on Wednesday.
Punjab began this year's competition with a huge amount of promise and were well placed for a title bid when winning five out of their first six games.
With their opening pairing of Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle in tremendous form, Punjab looked a very dangerous outfit and AJ Tye and Mujeeb Ur Rahman had formed the basis of a solid bowling attack.
However, having collapsed badly when chasing only 133 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 26, things have gone from bad to worse for Punjab whose middle order has proven very brittle when the pressure cooker has been turned up.
While Rahul and Gayle were protecting those frailties earlier in the campaign, Gayle's inevitable dip in form has put even more pressure on the outstanding Rahul and although he has responded with scores 84 not out, 95 not out, 66 and 21 in his last four innings, he is getting no support.
Ravichandran Ashwin's men have now lost five out of their last six matches, including the last three in succession, and they looked a side shot to pieces when bundled out for only 88 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday.
Punjab conspired to lose three wickets to run outs on that occasion as their frenetic approach crumbled under pressure and more concerning for Ashwin will have been how the pacey Umesh Yadav was able to dismiss Gayle and Rahul with aggressive short-pitched bowling.
Yadav looks to have provided a template of how to bowl at the Punjab pair and although Rahul looks a good enough player to cope with such a test, Gayle appeared ill at ease with that method of attack, something that Mumbai quicks Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan will have no doubt noted.
For Mumbai, their season has been almost a polar opposite to that endured by Punajb.
A disastrous start left them behind the eight ball but Rohit Sharma's men responded by winning three on the spin prior to meeting a resurgent Rajasthan Royals last time.
They were undone by a Jos Buttler-inspired Royals on that occasion but there was no disgrace in that result given how impressive they have been in recent weeks.
Sharma leads an excellent Mumbai unit expertly well and will be pleased with how the likes of Bumrah, McClenaghan, Mayank Markande and the Pandya brothers continue to go about their business with the ball.
A bowling attack of that quality should have too many guns for a reeling Punjab and there is plenty of strength in their batting, too.
The top-class Sharma follows a consistent opening pairing of Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis while there is an abundance of power lower down the order.
At 8/11, Mumbai look a knocking bet and must be supported.
Posted at 1430 BST on 15/05/18.