With no wins after four matches, Mumbai Indians will be desperate to reverse the trend when they face Punjab Kings in the IPL on Wednesday. It was a nightmarish start for the five-time champion known for their slow start. A formidable all-round side over the years, MI has looked a pale shadow of itself in the current edition, and will need several things to fall into place if they are to stop the slide and mend their campaign. Aside from their batters’ inability to get big, the bowlers’ underperformance has made it difficult.
The road to redemption looks difficult as they are ninth on the points list, but skipper Rohit Sharma would like to change things not only for the team but also for himself.
Rohit has not been the influential batter he normally is for his franchise and will have to lead from the front, even if the need to find the right combination is ringing out loud.
With two wins and an equal number of losses, Punjab is seventh in the standings, coming into the game after beating Gujarat Titans.
Rohit is very important at the top, but the others, including his opening partner Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma, will also have to come to the fore before it’s too late for MI to make a comeback.
Also, Dewald Brewis, known for his ability to play a wide variety of strokes, has yet to announce himself in the competition. The team management would hope that the batters can fire in unison.
One of the top three hitters will definitely have to score high if Mumbai is to put in a big total or chase one.
“We want batters to hit deep. And when you get runs on the board, there’s something for the bowlers to do,” Rohit had said.
The weakest link for Mumbai is the indifferent form of veteran all-rounder Kieron Pollard. Pollard, who can take down games on his own, has been far from his best and the West Indian would aim to get his mojo back.
However, MI will have to face a high-quality Punjab attack led by Kagiso Rabada and face a daunting task against the likes of Rahul Chahar, Vaibhav Arora or Arshdeep Singh.
The Mumbai bowlers, including Jasprit Bumrah, have disappeared from the radar.
The current attack, consisting of leg spinner Murugan Ashwin, Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat, will have to support Bumrah, who is eager to recreate his magic. The trio’s 12 overs will be crucial as MI’s fate changes.
MI takes on a team made up of power hitters such as Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone and M Shahrukh Khan.
Teams (out): Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Ramandeep Singh, SuryakumarYadav, Tilak Verma, Tim David, Arjun Tendulkar, Basil Thampi, Hrithik Shokeen, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Murugan Ashwin, Riley Meredith, Tymal Mills, Arshad Khan, Daniel Sams, Dewald Brevis, Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Aryan Juyal and Ishan Kishan.
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Jonny Bairstow, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Shahrukh Khan, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Porel, Liam Livingstone, Odean Smith, Sandeep Sharma, Raj Angad Bawa, Dha Prerak Mankad, Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.