Pune, April 12 (PTI): Winless after four games, Mumbai Indians will be desperate to reverse the trend when they face Punjab Kings in the IPL here on Wednesday.
It has been a nightmarish beginning for the five-time champions who are known for their slow starts.
A formidable all-round side over the years, MI have looked a pale shadow of themselves in the ongoing edition, and will need several things to fall in place if they are to arrest the slide and restore their campaign.
Apart from their batters’ inability to go big, the below-par performance by the bowlers has made things hard.
The road to redemption looks difficult as they are placed ninth on the points table but skipper Rohit Sharma would be eager to turn things around, not just for the team but for himself, too.
Rohit has not been the influential batter that he normally is for his franchise and will have to lead from the front, even as the need to find the right combination rings out loud.
With two wins and as many losses, Punjab are lying seventh in the standings and come into the game on the back of a defeat against 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 need to rise to the occasion before it gets too late for MI to stage a comeback.
Also Dewald Brewis, known for his ability to play a wide range of strokes, is yet to announce himself in the league. The team management would be hoping that the batters are able to fire in unison.
One of the top three batters will definitely need to score big if Mumbai are to post a big total or chase down one.
“We want batters to bat deep. And if 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 single-handedly take games away, has been far from his best and the West Indian would be aiming to regain his mojo.
MI, though, will be up against a quality Punjab attack led by Kagiso Rabada and faces a tricky task against the likes of Rahul Chahar, Vaibhav Arora or Arshdeep Singh.
The Mumbai bowlers, including Jasprit Bumrah, have been off the radar.
The current attack comprising leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin, Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat will have to support Bumrah, who will be keen to recreate his magic. The trio’s 12 overs will be crucial if MI’s fortunes are to change.
MI are up against a team comprising power-hitters like Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone and M Shahrukh Khan.
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, Rishi Dhawan, Prerak Mankad, Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell.
Match starts at 7.30 pm.