Mumbai vs Punjab has always been a fiery encounter, to say the least. Barring the number of trophies each team has in their cabinet, there’s very little that separates these two franchises. Mumbai and Punjab have clashed 23 times in the past, with the former winning 12 and the latter 11.
Even their previous five encounters do not depict clear picture, with Punjab winning two and Mumbai winning three. At the end though, it all comes down the performance the players put on the evening and judging by form, expect it to be a neck-to-neck battle.
That being said, here we take a look at the top picks from the game:
Bowler: Alzarri Joseph
Mumbai’s 40-run victory over Hyderabad at home was all down to the bowling brilliance of Alzarri Joseph. In his debut Indian T20 League game, the 22-year-old Windies pacer scalped six wickets for mere 12 runs in 3.4 overs. Playing at an economy of 3.27, it is safe to say Joseph will be the key for Mumbai.
On A personal scale, Joseph – with his figures – became only the second bowler to pick a five-wicket haul on IPL debut after Andrew Tye achieved the feat at five for 17 while playing for Gujarat Lions against Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. Joseph, at 22 years and 137 days, also became only the second youngest player to pick five wickets in the league. The youngest remains Jaydev Unadkat who, at 21 years and 204 days, registered five for 25 against Delhi while playing his trade with Bengaluru in 2013.
Batsman: KL Rahul
Arun Sankar / AFP
The last time Rahul faced Mumbai he ended his innings with an unbeaten 57-ball 71. Following a slow start to the season, Punjab’s wicketkeeper-batsman has picked up the momentum and has scored two half-centuries in his last three games.
Rahul loves hunting the Mumbai bowling unit and the fact that he carries the second batting average (55.14) against Mumbai (amongst the current teams) is the perfect specimen of it. Even the most lethal partnership he has had this season with Chris Gayle (53 runs) came against Mumbai earlier in the campaign.
All-rounder: Hardik Pandya
Punit Paranjpe / AFP
There are several personal milestones to be achieved for Hardik Pandya tonight. With the ball, he needs six more wickets to reach the 100-wicket mark in T20s. With the bat, he only needs three more sixes to complete his 50 sixes in the Indian T20 League. While the former looks like a distant dream, the latter could well and truly be on cards.
Despite coming down the order, the 25-year-old all-rounder averages 34.00 this season. With the ball, although he has leaked runs, there is literally no other all-rounder who can match what Hardik brings to the table.