Kanpur: Nothing but a win will keep their play-off hopes alive as defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Gujarat Lions in a do-or-die battle, which will be their final IPL league match, here today.
Mumbai Indians' players celebrate the wicket of Delhi Daredevils’ Karun Nair during the IPL match at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam on May 15. Pic/AFP
With seven wins in 13 matches, Mumbai are currently placed fifth, tied on 14 points with Royal Challengers Bangalore (third) and Kolkata Knight Riders (fourth) — both having better net run-rate with one match to go.
A loss today will knock them out of the race for play-offs and Mumbai will hope to pull the rug from under the feet of the Lions this time after suffering a defeat during their home leg on April 16.
Gujarat are at the second spot with 16 points from 13 matches and a victory will seal their play-off berth.
However, a slip-up will keep the door open for the other teams to sneak in at the last moment and the IPL debutantes will be eager to avoid any such situation after doing all the hard work this season.
Two-time champions, Mumbai have failed to build a winning momentum this season and all their victories have been mostly followed by losses.
Huge win against Delhi
A massive 80-run win against Delhi Daredevils in their last outing on May 15 has boosted Mumbai's confidence and they would want to carry on the momentum this time.
Mumbai have depended on captain Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu to score bulk of the runs this season though it was young all-rounder Krunal Pandya's 37-ball 86 which did the trick for them in their last match.
Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard will be the other batters who will look to step up and perform in today's match, which otherwise might turn out to be Mumbai's last appearance this season.
In bowling, seamer Mitchell McClenaghan have led the attack well with 17 wickets in 13 matches and remains the top wicket-taker this season. He has been supported well by Jasprit Bumrah with 14 scalps.
Gujarat, on the other hand, made a rampaging start to the season before facing a slump early this month but they have managed to bounce back with a win over Kolkata on Thursday after an embarrassing 144-run loss vs Bangalore.
The fact that skipper Suresh Raina guided the team home with an unbeaten 36-ball 53 will come as a huge relief for the team, which has some powerful hitters in Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith.
In their bowling department, Gujarat have depended on seamers Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni. Dwayne Smith's four-wicket haul against Delhi will also give their attack a huge boost ahead of today's clash.
Suresh Raina Gujarat Lions
> Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum fire at the start
> Dwayne Bravo does not flop with the bat
> MI pacer Jasprit Bumrah is tackled well
Rohit Sharma Mumbai Indians
> He puts up a good opening stand with Martin Guptill
> Krunal Pandya provides an all-round show
> Brendon McCullum is dismissed early
Mumbai Indians' defeats this season
> April 9 vs Pune: Lost by nine wickets at Wankhede
> April 16 vs Gujarat: Lost by three wickets at Wankhede
> April 18 vs H’bad: Lost by seven wickets at Uppal
> April 23 vs Delhi: Lost by 10 runs at Feroz Shah Kotla
> May 8 vs H’bad: Lost by 85 runs at Vizag
> May 13 vs KXIP: Lost by seven wickets at Vizag