Ahead of their clash against Kings XI Punjab, Shane Bond has admitted that the Mumbai Indians bowlers will have to put pressure on the red-hot KXIP openers early on to restrict them. At the same time, Bond was extremely confident that their batting unit would come to the party straight away.
Both Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians walk into this contest on a mellow mood, following the high-scoring drama that they played earlier. While the Mumbai Indians came from a dead spot to earn a miraculous chance to complete a comeback against Royal Challengers Bangalore, KXIP gave away a glorious chance to allow Rajasthan Royals to set the record for the highest chase in the tournament.
However, one thing that would remain in their plans for their Thursday fixture is the form of their respective bowling units. Mumbai Indians’ bowling coach Shane Bond commented on the same, admitting that their bowling unit has to put immediate pressure on the KXIP openers - Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul. Agarwal and Rahul have done the bulk of the scoring for the side, with 443 runs in between them this season.
“If we can create some pressure and get those boys out early, and put some little bit more pressure on that middle-order early, we can restrict them to a score, stop them from scoring (big) runs,” Bond said.
In particular, the former Kiwi pacer has clear plans set in place for KL Rahul, with the right-hander having a brilliant past against the Blue and Gold outfit scoring 289 runs. This season, Rahul has scored 222 runs in the competition, at an average of 111, having faced just under 150 deliveries.
“KL Rahul has got runs against us in the last few games and he is a brilliant player. We are having our bowlers’ meeting this afternoon, in terms of our planning for our opponents who are playing well. KL is a dynamic player, who scores all around the field,” the former Kiwi pacer said.
“We will have specific ideas about how we can get him out. In the end, we can’t allow him (Rahul) to score in the areas he is very, very strong. He scores well over extra-cover, picks up over fine-leg. We have got a quality bowling unit, we just have to put pressure on them. Mind you, the two key batters for Kings XI Punjab played brilliantly so far,” he added.
At the other end, Bond isn’t too fazed with the batting unit, in particular the top-order who have struggled in two games out of the three. Bond believes that they will play according to the plans against Punjab’s strong bowling unit.
“We are reasonably confident with our batting line-up. They have put up good runs on the board so far and we are a tough batting order to stop. We have played on this ground twice and so we sort of know what to expect with the conditions, so that should help us a bit,” Bond signed off.