Mumbai Sport

Starting trouble

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The defeat to Rising Pune Supergiants was Mumbai’s fourth successive loss in opening matches, and fifth overall

With the addition of two new teams in place of two former champions, the Indian Premier League’s ninth season is different. But for the defending champion Mumbai Indians, the season got off on a familiar note: with a loss in the opening encounter.

Saturday’s humiliating defeat to debutant Rising Pune Supergiants was Mumbai Indians’ fourth successive loss in IPL opening matches, and fifth overall. Apart from its players’ lacklustre performances, what would concern the Mumbai Indians fans and management is events from the past.

The team suffered four losses in the inaugural IPL season in 2008 before notching a win, while in the last two seasons, Rohit Sharma’s men lost five and three games up front.

Harbhajan Singh, a vital cog in each of Mumbai’s nine IPL campaigns, struggled to point out the reason for the slow start.

“I don’t know; I wish I knew the reason,” said Harbhajan, whose unbeaten 30-ball 45 helped Mumbai Indians put on a three-digit total.

“We would have liked to win our first game and start on a good note, but it’s a game where you can only give 110 or 120 per cent; the result is not in our control.

“We tried our best and hopefully from the next game onwards, we will start playing better cricket and will get the results that we are looking for.”

In 2014, the side had returned from the United Arab Emirates with five losses in as many games. Still, it bounced back and made it to the playoffs, winning seven of the remaining nine games.

Even last year, when it bagged its second trophy, the most expensive of the original eight franchises had to wait for its fourth game to register a victory.

Harbhajan hoped the new campaign doesn’t turn out to be as tumultuous. “Hopefully it won’t be like (losing) first five games Mumbai Indians don’t play well, and then suddenly we wake up and start playing good cricket. Hopefully things will change from Kolkata.”

If the Mumbai Indians shows up against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday the way it did on Saturday, its wait for points could turn out to be as long as the last two seasons.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 3:55:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sport/defeat-to-rising-pune-supergiants-was-mumbais-fourth-successive-loss-in-opening-matches/article8458975.ece

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