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IPL 2019: Ashwin-led Punjab look for home advantage against Mumbai

IPL 2019- Mumbai vs Punjab. Photograph:( IANS )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 30, 2019, 12.37 AM (IST)

R Ashwin-led Punjab will face Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Indian Premier League 2019 in the first match of Saturday. 

With the tournament still in its early stages and the two teams having won a game each, the balance is not tilted in anyone's favour and the game will be evenly poised. 

For Punjab, Chris Gayle, who is in prime form as he blasted 79 off just 47 balls in their campaign first match, is the key man in the batting department. 

While other batsmen Sarfaraz Khan, Mayank Aggarwal and David Miller impressed with their batting. 

But the opener KL Rahul needs to focus on his form and his batting was poor in both the previous matches. 

The two rival sides boast of some star players in their line-up and each team will hope to its best when it matters.

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Punjab, who are yet to win an IPL title, opened their campaign this season on a winning note against Rajasthan. But, the match caught the headlines more for Ashwin's 'Mankading' of Buttler that triggered a dramatic collapse for the Rajasthan. Punjab eventually won by 14 runs. 

That particular game also saw Punjab's opener Chris Gayle in prime form as he blasted 79 off just 47 balls while Sarfaraz Khan remained unbeaten on 46 off 29, giving the Ashwin-led side a boost in the batting department. 

Andre Russell's sensational 17-ball 48 and Robin Uthappa's 67 not out and Nitish Rana's 63 left Punjab bowlers in a daze. Even the likes of Ashwin and speedster Mohammed Shami did not have an answer to Kolkata's blitzkrieg. 

For Punjab, opener Lokesh Rahul is yet to hit his top form, managing just five runs from previous two outings, and he will be hoping to get back to his best in Mohali. 

On the other hand, Mumbai Indians have come into this match, having notched up a 6-run win over Bangalore, with India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah stamping his class.

For Mumbai, Rohit Sharma (48 of 33) and Hardik Pandya's 14-ball 32 stood out as they set up a target of 188 for Bangalore to chase. 

Mumbai were almost blown away by AB de Villiers' 41-ball 70 not out, but the Rohit Sharma-led side won the match under controversial circumstances with the umpires failing to call Lasith Malinga final delivery a no-ball which left India and Bangalore captain Virat Kohli seething in anger. 

Bumrah impressed in the game against Bangalore, returning with figures of 4-0-20-3, something most bowlers will envy in this format of the game.

Yuvraj Singh, who started the season on a classy note by hitting a sublime half-century against Delhi Capitals and managing 23 against RCB, will be eager to make a mark in Mohali, which happens to be his 'home ground'.

Story highlights

The two rival sides boast of some star players in their line-up and each team will hope to its best when it matters.