Match 54 of VIVO IPL 2016 is an all-to-play-for contest between the Gujarat Lions and Mumbai Indians. It is the last league fixture of the season for both teams and a must-win as well.
The Gujarat Lions are currently seated second in the standings with 16 points from 13 matches. A win will not only guarantee them a berth in the final four but also a finish in the top two. However, if the Lions go on to lose the match, there is the possibility that they could be knocked out from the race. The Lions have the lowest Net Run Rate among all the contenders, and if it so happens that five teams end up with 16 points, the Lions will miss the bus.
The equation for the Mumbai Indians is fairly straightforward. Barring something spectacular that unfurls on the last day of the regular league season, if MI get the better of the Gujarat Lions, they progress to the Playoffs. MI have had a 5-day break since their decimation of the Delhi Daredevils at Visakhapatnam. MI will be wary of their performance when coming out of a break; the last time they rejoined the pack after a break, they played at a new venue then too (Visakhapatnam), and were shot out for 92.
21 May 2016, 2000 Hrs IST
Green Park, Kanpur
Temperature: Max 40°c, Min 37°c
Humidity: Max 40%
Man for man, the Gujarat Lions have a far dangerous top order compared to the Mumbai Indians. Each of Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina or Aaron Finch is capable of winning matches single-handedly. Rohit Sharma is the most-important batsman where MI are concerned. The MI skipper has struggled for timing and momentum, and has looked out of sorts in recent times; in the last four innings, Rohit has aggregated 76 runs, with a highest of 31, scored at a strike-rate of 105.6. MI need him or Ambati Rayudu to play the long innings, and hope the rest of the stroke-makers in the line-up – Martin Guptill, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard or Krunal Pandya - can flex their muscles at the other end.
On the bowling front, MI have two bowlers – Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah – in the top ten in the list of leading wicket-takers this season. They will be at the forefront of the team’s bowling plans. The Gujarat Lions will expect Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni to cause plenty of damage with the new ball. Dwayne Bravo’s variations will also play a key role against a formidable MI middle order.
Head to Head
One witnessed a low-scoring thriller when the Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions met the last time. In the match played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, MI scored 143-8, which the Lions chased down of the last ball, thanks to Aaron Finch’s unbeaten 54-ball 67.
Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch have scored the same number of runs for Gujarat Lions this season; Finch has an aggregate of 339 runs from nine innings, while Raina has just as many runs, but from 12 innings.
Both teams appear to prefer chasing. The Gujarat Lions have won 7 of their 9 run-chases, while the Mumbai Indians have won 5 of their 7 run-chases this season.
The Gujarat Lions have taken the fewest wickets among all teams in VIVO IPL 2016 – 61. Mumbai Indians have taken just 3 more than them – 64.
The Mumbai Indians have won 4 of their 6 away matches this season.
If the Gujarat Lions win this match, they will most definitely finish in the top two positions in the VIVO IPL 2016 standings. If Mumbai Indians win this match, then both teams will wait to see how the points table takes shape at the end of the final league match on May 22. The first of the Playoff matches, between the top two sides in the table, will be played on May 24 in Bengaluru, while the 3rd and 4th placed teams will compete in Qualifier 2 in Delhi on May 25.