Setback for IPL champs as pacer Zaheer Khan fails to recover from shoulder injury ahead of RCB clash
Mumbai Indians' hopes of building on the win over Kings XI Punjab last week suffered a crushing blow yesterday when star bowler Zaheer Khan was ruled out of today's Indian Premier League clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
MI pacer Zaheer Khan in action against Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede recently. Pic/Atul Kamble
The defending champions end ed their five-match winless run at the Wankhede on Saturday, but Zaheer unfortunately injured his shoulder and was forced to leave the field at the time.
Yesterday, MI's head coach John Wright confirmed that the left-arm pacer will miss today's tie after straining his "left latissimus dorsi muscle".
"It's a big blow for us, but it's not serious. He is unlikely to play tomorrow," said Wright.
Zaheer and Lasith Malinga are the only pacers, who have shone for Mumbai this season and the former's absence will put pressure on the Sri Lankan ace against a tough opposition.
Nevertheless, Wright is confident Malinga will deliver. "He enjoys pressure. If you look at any top performer, they don't look at it as pressure.
They see it as an opportunity. Such situations give them a chance to show what champions they are. Malinga knows how to deal with it," the former India coach said.
It is not just the pace department, even MI's spin unit looks barren. Only Harbhajan Singh, who has claimed four wickets so far, succeeded in troubling batsmen to an extent. Pragyan Ojha, the other spinner, has been far from impressive.
"We tend to worry too much at times. We are looking at improving every time we play a match. Beating Punjab, who had been unbeaten, was terrific. It was a great victory from our point of view. It showed, if we play good cricket, we can beat any team," said Wright.
> Yuzvendra Chahal gave Mumbai Indians a big jolt by first luring Rohit Sharma into playing a half-hearted loft to long-off and then dismissed Kieron Pollard in his next over
> Mumbai Indian collapsed from 101-4 to 115-9 in the last four overs
> Royal Challengers were reduced to 17-3. AB de Villiers and Parthiv Patel was the last recognised pair on the crease. One more wicket and Mumbai Indians would have fancied their chances. Parthiv seemed to have edged Malinga to the keeper with 41 needed off the last seven overs, but Mumbai fielders did not even appeal. There was no one stopping this pair thereafter as the two put on 99 runs and brought up the win in the 18th over
Mumbai, Bangalore prepare for today's royal challenge
MI pacer Lasith Malinga stretches during training at the Wankhede yesterday
Bat man! Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma checks out his bat closely one during practice at the Wankhede yesterday
Big shot: RCB captain Virat Kohli slams one during practice on the eve of his team's clash with Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble