On the verge of elimination after six losses on the trot, a horribly out of form Mumbai Indians (MI) would need to notch up their first win of this IPL to remain afloat when they face Chennai Super Kings (CSK) here on Thursday.
Five-time champions Mumbai have not won a single match this season and a loss on Thursday would send them packing from the tournament.
Defending champions CSK, who are just a rung above bottom-placed MI, have also faltered as a team though there has been a few instances of individual brilliance. With five losses from six games, a defeat on Thursday would also send them on the brink of elimination.
For Mumbai, the biggest concern is the form of skipper Rohit Sharma, who has gathered only 114 runs from six innings. If Mumbai have to chase or set up a big total, he will have to do the bulk of scoring.
Young batter Ishan Kishan has also not justified his heavy price tag of ₹15.25 crore. He needs to do more than the 191 runs from six matches with the help two half centuries.
The likes of Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, and Suryakumar Yadav have played some scintillating knocks individually but together need to take responsibility in the middle-order.
Another disappointment so far has been all-rounder Kieron Pollard, whose ability to win matches has been on the wane. With just 82 runs, Pollard has been a complete failure, even as questions have cropped up over his retention.
Mumbai have the batting ammunition, at least on paper, but they have not exploded in unison as yet. They would be hoping for that to happen against CSK, whose bowling attack is rather inexperienced.
If batting is a worry, bowling is a far bigger concern for Mumbai. Save for Jasprit Bumrah, Mumbai bowlers have had a torrid time, 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 match, while Unadkat and Ashwin went for 32 and 33 runs respectively. Mumbai tried the option of Fabian Allen, but even he was taken to cleaners, as he gave away 46 runs in four overs in the last match.
For the men in yellow, the biggest positive is Ruturaj Gaikwad finding his mojo back with a 48-ball 73 against Gujarat Titans.
Robin Uthappa and Shivam Dube did shine in the team’s solitary win against Royal Challengers Bangalore with their brutal hitting but the duo faltered against Gujarat.
Dube will have to shed his “one match wonder” tag and shoulder more responsibility along with Ambati Rayadu and Moeen Ali, the pinch hitter, who has looked out of sorts.
Captain Ravindra Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni can play the finisher’s role. Jadeja hasn’t really looked threatening with the ball and needs to put up a better show if his team is to stop MI hitters.
CSK bowlers, save for Dwayne Bravo and spinner Maheesh Theekshana, have been far from being up-to the mark. Mukesh Choudhary has been leaking runs and Chris Jordan bled 58 runs against Gujarat.
With Deepak Chahar ruled out and Adam Milne yet to regain fitness, CSK will have to bank on these bowlers and expect them to come good.
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.
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, and Mukesh Choudhary.
Match starts at 7.30 PM