After a barren run in UAE, Mumbai Indians hope fans will cheer them on to victory over Kings XI today
Mumbai Indians must have heaved a huge sigh of relief yesterday. The defending champions are back in familiar territory — the Wankhede Stadium!
Mumbai Indians batsman Kieron Pollard tries a scoop shot at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble.
MI, who are still winless after five matches at the end of the Unites Arab Emirates leg, would be desperate to finally open their account today when they take on table-toppers Kings XI Punjab.
And skipper Rohit Sharma is banking on the vociferous Wankhede crowd for support. In IPL-6, MI remained unbeaten in their eight home games en route to the title triumph. “Yes we are back in familiar conditions which is very important for us at the moment. We want to do well at home. We will also get an extra boost from the enthusiastic Wankhede crowd which will be special. It is important we do well for them and also get our confidence back,” Sharma said on the eve of the match.
But most of the cheer would be reserved for Sachin Tendulkar, who retired last year and is part of MI support-staff now. “The crowd loved to watch him. We all miss him. But we have got used to it now. We have to move on,” said Sharma.
Tough task ahead
However, maintaining their unbeaten run at Wankhede is not going to be easy. The batsmen are woefully out of form — only two batsmen, Rohit and Kieron Pollard, have scored a half-century so far. While in the bowling department, they are lacking depth after pacers Lasith Malinga and Zaheer Khan have bowled.
Sharma though, insisted they have the right guys in their line-up. “We have some really talented players. It’s just that we are committing too many mistakes. We have ourselves to blame for our poor performance so far. We are making silly mistakes. The plans we are discussing before matches are not being executed properly,” said Rohit.
Another headache for the MI think-tank would be the rampaging form of Glenn Maxwell, who was a part of Mumbai Indians last season. The explosive Kings XI Punjab batsman tops the batting charts with 300 runs in five matches.
03: The number of wickets Mumbai Indians’ spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha have taken collectively in five games of IPL-7. While Ojha has taken one, Harbhajan has taken the other two. Lasith Malinga leads the MI charts with eight scalps
IPL on TV: Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab, Live on Sony Max, Sony Six & Sony Six HD, 16:00
. Kings XI Punjab were in trouble at 6-2 in the third over, but Shaun Marsh put them back on track with some aggressive batting, hitting six fours in the Powerplay
. Azhar Mahmood then took on the best Mumbai bowler Lasith Malinga, hitting him for three fours and a six in one over. Marsh and Mahmood were separated only in the 17th over. By then, they had added 148 for the third wicket. KXIP finally ended with an impressive 183-8
. Mumbai Indians’ non-regular openers, Glenn Maxwell and Aditya Tare fell inside the first four overs. Ambati Rayudu couldn’t convert his start and gloved a bouncer to Gilchrist. Dinesh Karthik recorded a duck and Piyush Chawla bowled Rohit Sharma for 25 with a quicker delivery. Mumbai fell short by 50 runs in the end