It is the battle of two explosive batting line-ups as Mumbai Indians take on Gujarat Lions in the 16th match of IPL 2017 at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. Both teams won their last match and on a true batting surface, this looks like the perfect recipe for a high-scoring contest.
After losing the opening game against Rising Pune Supergiant, Mumbai Indians have transformed into a completely different animal, shedding their usual early season malaise for a three-game winning run that saw them catapult to the top of the table before Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday to take first spot.
For the Lions, their decision to drop their policy of fielding four international openers in their top-order and go for an overseas fast bowler in Andrew Tye certainly paid rich dividends as he finished the best figures on IPL debut and a hat-trick as well as Suresh Raina's side got off the mark in the tournament.
Gujarat Lions beat Rising Pune Supergiant convincingly in their last match courtesy of Tye while Mumbai Indians showed plenty of grit to bounce back from Samuel Badree’s hat-trick and still beat Royal Challengers Bangalore away from home.
Both teams seem to prefer chasing and seeing as only one of them will get to do what they want, it will be interesting to see what happens in this battle between two of the most powerful batting orders in the tournament.
Match date: 16-04-2017
Match time: 1600 hours (IST)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
If Mumbai Indians bat first
Predicted score: 170+
Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel are the new-look opening combination for MI in IPL 2017 and while they have done well, the move to not open with Rohit Sharma hasn’t worked out well for the Mumbai captain as he has struggled so far in IPL 2017.
The Pandya brothers have given them the final flourish with both the bat and the ball while Nitish Rana has repaid the faith that was shown in him by performing consistently. They also have Kieron Pollard and there is no doubt that Mumbai has depth in their batting, but so far they have preferred chasing rather than batting first.
They will need Rohit Sharma to return to form if they are to post a big total and with a rejuvenated Lions bowling line-up that now has the impressive Andrew Tye, it certainly won't be easy, especially at the death overs.
If Gujarat Lions bat first
Predicted score: 180+
After playing with four openers in their first two games and not succeeding, Lions decided to ditch that go with the tried-and-tested opening combination of Brendon McCulluma and Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch in the middle-order. That combination worked wonders and also afforded an opportunity for the in-form Ishan Kishan.
The top order are all in great form and with the addition of Kishan as well, their batting line-up looks more like a team than just a collection of best individuals. Given the size of the Wankhede and the power of their batting line-up, a huge total shouldn’t be surprising.
While MI’s bowling is one that can stifle the runs, with the form and the power that the Lions possess, it is hard to say anyone stopping them if they are on song. They have struggled against wrist spinners but neither Harbhajan nor Krunal Pandya turn the ball a great deal and unless MI bring in one especially for the game, Lions could have a field day on a true batting surface.
Predicted winners: Mumbai Indians