Navi Mumbai: On the brink of elimination after six losses at a trot, a terribly out of shape Mumbai Indians should get their first win of this IPL to stand their ground when faced Chennai Super Kings here on Thursday.
Five-time champions Mumbai has yet to win a single match this season and a loss on Thursday would send them out of the tournament.
Defending champions CSK, who are just a step above the bottom MI, have also failed as a team, although there have been some instances of individual brilliance. With five defeats from six games, a defeat on Thursday would also put them on the brink of elimination.
For Mumbai, the biggest concern is the form of skipper Rohit Sharma, who has amassed just 114 runs from six innings. If Mumbai has to chase or set up a big total, he will have to do most of the scoring.
Young batter Ishan Kishan has also failed to justify his heavy price tag of Rs 15.25 crore. With the help of two half-centuries, he must do more than the 191 runs from six games.
Players like Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav have dealt some scintillating blows individually, but must take responsibility together in the middle of the pack.
Another disappointment so far is all-rounder Kieron Pollard, whose ability to win matches is on the wane. With just 82 runs, Pollard has been a complete failure, even as questions have been raised about his retention.
Mumbai has the battle munitions, at least on paper, but they haven’t exploded at the same time so far. They would hope this would happen against CSK, whose bowling attack is rather inexperienced.
If batting is a concern, bowling is a much bigger concern for Mumbai. Aside from Jasprit Bumrah, the Mumbai bowlers have had a blast be it Tymal Mills, Jaydev Unadkat, Basil Thampi or lead spinner Murugan Ashwin.
Mills bled 54 runs in three overs against Lucknow Super Giants in their last game, while Unadkat and Ashwin scored 32 and 33 runs respectively.
Mumbai tried Fabian Allen’s option but even he was taken to the cleaners as he conceded 46 runs in four overs in the final game.
For Chennai, the biggest positive is that Ruturaj Gaikwad regains his mojo with a 48-ball 73 against Gujarat Titans.
Robin Uthappa and Shivam Dube starred in the team’s lone win against Royal Challengers Bangalore with their brutal punch, but the duo faltered against Gujarat.
Dube will have to shed his wonder label of one game and take on more responsibility, along with Ambati Rayadu and Moeen Ali, the pinch hitter, who didn’t look good.
Captain Ravindra Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni can play the role of finisher. Jadeja didn’t look too threatening with the ball and needs to put on a better show if his team is to stop MI hitters.
CSK bowlers, with the exception of Dwayne Bravo and spinner Maheesh Theekshana, were far from up to date. Mukesh Choudhary leaks runs and Chris Jordan bled 58 runs against Gujarat.
With Deepak Chahar ruled out and Adam Milne yet to regain his fitness, CSK will have to count on these bowlers and expect them to perform well.
The teams (of):
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 Asande, Murugan , Riley Meredith, Tymal Mills, Arshad Khan, Daniel Sams, Dewald Brevis, Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Aryan Juyal and Ishan Kishan.
Chennai Super Kings: Ravindra Jadeja (Captain), MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayadu, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Chris Jordan, Adam Milne, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Dwaine Pretorius, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Tushar Deshpande, KM Asif, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Subranshu Senapati, K Bhagath Verma, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, Mukesh Choudhary.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.
Also read: Battle of power hitters as COVID-stricken Delhi Capitals clash with Punjab Kings