Back Rohit to steer Mumbai to first win

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Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings
Wednesday April 13th, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Mumbai winless in four

We’re used to Mumbai Indians making slow starts to the competition and the 2022 side has followed the trend. The most successful franchise in the history of the IPL is currently without a win in four games.

I follow global cricket closely but I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had to Google some of the names in this Mumbai squad and that may be part of the problem. New teams led to big shake ups at the Mega Auction and Rohit Sharma’s men are lacking quality in depth.

Batting hasn’t been too much of an issue: Mumbai have passed 150 in all four of their games which suggests the bowling attack is weak. It could, however, be an all-round problem with the departed Pandya brothers having previously provided that depth in both departments.

Mixed start for Punjab

Punjab Kings got off to a fast start, chasing down 205 to beat RCB in match three, but they come into this match with two wins from four. Form is as mixed as that record suggests but there are fewer concerns among a batting line up which has reached 180 in three of those four games.

Liam Livingstone has top scored in Punjab’s last two matches and is starting to add more consistency to his power hitting. That will be the key for Kings moving forward: KL Rahul scored 626 runs last season in just 13 games and Livingstone and others will need to compensate for his departure.

Livingstone also adds depth to the bowling with his mix of off spin and leg spin but there needs to be more support in the batting department from the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal.

Mumbai punished in Pune

The MCA International Stadium in Pune provides the setting for Wednesday’s game. Mumbai Indians have played here twice – losing to RCB and KKR. Rohit’s men are the only team to have failed to defend a target on this surface in four games at IPL 15.

Across those four matches, the average first innings total is 173 with Rajasthan Royals posting a high of 210/6. Taking into account previous results, it’s a day to chase with the fielding side looking to restrict their opponents to something around 160.

Match result betting doesn’t get any closer than this. Punjab Kings are currently the marginal favourites at 1.981/1 while Mumbai Indians are only just behind at 1.991/1.

The form book might point to Punjab but Mumbai are stronger than their opening record suggests. They haven’t benefited greatly from this year’s auction and it’s surely time to make some squad changes. Tim David for Dewald Brevis is the obvious move and that would add depth in all departments.

One man won’t change a side but, with better balance, Mumbai can get their first win on the board. They will, however, need to get Liam Livingstone early.

It’s time for Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma to lead by example. The skipper was my preference for a recommended bet and a price boost on the sportsbook has persuaded me.

He’s due a contribution and you can guarantee that he’ll not be out of touch for too long. Rohit is boosted to 3/1 on the sportsbook to be Mumbai’s top batter while other options include Ishan Kishan at 3/1, Suryakumar Yadav at 7/2, Tilak Varma at 6/1 and Tim David at 7/1.

Six hitting doesn’t just get the sponsors a mention. Sixes win matches and there are some interesting markets relating to maximums if you want a third pick. Firstly, Punjab are favourites to hit most sixes at 1.855/6 but I suspect that Mumbai will offer more value at 2.546/4.

If Liam Livingstone is dismissed early, the outsiders should convert.

Alternatively, in the #OddsOnThat section of the sportsbook, Ishan Kishan to hit a 4 and a 6 looks solid at 4/6.