Desperate MI look for solutions

TOUGH TIMES Hardik Pandya got back to form against RCB in their last game and Mumbai Indians would hope for the all-rounder to fire again. PTI

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will be aiming to sort their 'opening woes' in both departments of the game when they take on a rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab in a must-win IPL encounter, here on Friday.

The three-time IPL champions are staring at an inglorious exit having brought up the rear so far, with only two wins in their kitty from eight games.

On the other hand, Kings, under Ravichandran Ashwin's leadership, have won five out of their seven games, slowly but surely nearing the play-offs.

Kings XI Punjab's season has been about collective performance. They don't have the 'Orange Cap' or 'Purple Cap' holders in their ranks but everyone has chipped in with impactful performances as and when required.

Chris Gayle (252 runs) came into the tournament with a bruised ego and battered the bowlers into submission with two half centuries and a hundred. KL Rahul (268 runs) also showed why he is rated so highly with the fastest ever 50 in IPL.

Afghanistan's rookie spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman, with an economy rate of 6.51 and seven wickets, has been nurtured well by skipper Ashwin, who has marshalled his resources well.

For Mumbai, the primary reason for six defeats in eight matches has been poor start by openers along with new ball bowlers leaking too many runs in power play overs.

While Suryakumar Yadav, with 283 runs from eight games, has performed decently after being promoted up the order, Caribbean left-hander Evin Lewis (194 in 7 games) has not been able to make a big impact.

Skipper Rohit Sharma (196 in 8 matches) has shuffled his own batting position but his inconsistency has also hurt Mumbai Indians big time.

The opening stands in eight games has so far yielded: 7, 11, 102, 0, 1, 12, 69, 5.

A look at the statistics will reveal that they have got solid foundation in only two games of which they won.

The other problem that has plagued Mumbai has been the performance of their two all-rounders -- Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya.

With Pollard not fit enough to bowl, his contribution of 76 runs in 6 innings has been an issue. Hardik has also blown hot and cold during the season with 111 runs, including a toiling 50 in the last game along with 11 wickets.

Left-arm pacers Mustafizur Rahaman (7 wickets) and Mitchell McLenaghan (9 wickets) have both been expensive at the start and back-end of the opposition innings with unimpressive economy rates of 8.34 and 8.66 respectively.

That has put immense pressure on Jasprit Bumrah (9 wickets at an economy rate of 7) and Hardik (11 eickets at 8.74).

The only silver lining for the Mumbai Indians this season has been the emergence of young leg-spinner Mayank Markande (11 wickets). The teenager has shown admirable temperament against the biggest names.

 

 

 

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Desperate MI look for solutions

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