It's a homecoming for MI skipper Harbhajan today!

Harbhajan Singh will lead his Mumbai Indians against Kings XI Punjab on his home turf here at the PCA Stadium today. Punjab, led by David Hussey in the absence of an injured Adam Gilchrist, had prevailed in a last-over finish by chasing down a target of 164 against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. Mumbai now have an opportunity to return the favour and improve their position, currently seventh, in the Indian Premier League-V points table. Sunday’s match also saw temperamental Mumbai pacer Munaf Patel being slapped with a fine for abusing Punjab opener Nitin Saini. Patel will be under pressure to mend his ways today.

Homecoming: Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh at the Wankhede Stadium last week. Pic/Atul Kamble

Gilchrist, set to sit out again for today’s game, felt that Mumbai would be tough to beat again. “I am not sure,” he told reporters when asked about the status of his hamstring injury. “Mumbai is a dangerous side. They are an all-round side with quality players and star-studded line-up,” he said.  Meanwhile, Mumbai’s mentor-cum-bowling coach Shaun Pollock said that Sachin Tendulkar’s return stabilised their batting order. “No doubt Sachin brings with him a wealth of experience. He brings stability at the top. It’s his birthday today and hopefully, we can expect a great knock from him tomorrow,” he said yesterday.

Pollock backs Bhajji
On skipper Harbhajan not firing with the ball, Pollock said, “He (Harbhajan) is a good bowler and his time will come. I am sure he will come into his own.” Pollock also defended Rohit Sharma for getting out to an irresponsible shot in the previous tie with Punjab in Mumbai.

Really? Gilchrist stumped at win-loss record vs MI
Punjab enjoy an exceptional 6-3 head-to-head record over MI in IPL history. However, Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist is not aware of this fact. “Is it so?,” he asked a reporter here yesterday, before adding, “I didn’t realise that. I didn’t take this up in the team meeting.” Gilchrist felt that the record does not make a huge difference. “Had it been 9-0, may be (then it would have made some difference).” 


Hussey’s wishlist
>> Improve head-to-head record
>>  Dismiss Tendulkar cheaply
>>  Not allow Harbhajan wickets
>>  Shaun Marsh gets Orange Cap
>>  Azhar Mahmood finds his mojo

Harbhajan’s wishlist
>>  Get cheers from local crowd
>>  Tendulkar gets a birthday fifty
>>  Munaf Patel keeps his cool
>>  Franklin fires at the top, again
>>  Pragyan Ojha regains his form 

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