High on confidence after one of their splendid run-chases across 10 editions, Two-time Champion Mumbai Indians would like to continue their winning momentum against a resurgent Gujarat Lions in the first match of the doubleheader IPL encounter on Sunday at the Wankhede stadium.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 4 PM in the afternoon, while in another thrilling clash; Virat Kohli’s brigade will take on Steven Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiants at Royal Challengers Bangalore’s den- M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru. The match will start at 8 PM.
Looking at the first match, the Suresh Raina-led Gujarat side has somewhat redeemed themselves after a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiant while Mumbai has six points from four games shedding their poor starters tag.
Looking at the lineup for both the teams, MI will like to address its top order concerns which completely collapsed against RCB. All thanks to Pandya brothers- Hardik and Krunal, who have been consistent with their performance with both bat and bowl till now and who can forget the match winning knock by big West Indian Kieron Pollard, who has finally achieved his form.
Another area of concern would be skipper Rohit Sharma’s inability to read the googly. Thrice he has played for the leg-break and was deceived by the wrong ‘un bowled by Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan and Badree in IPL 10.
With three sub-10 scores, Rohit would like to fire against the Gujarat Lions especially on the Wankhede track, which is usually considered friendly for batsmen.
One of the biggest positives for Mumbai has been the form of Pandya brothers—Hardik and Krunal. They have made a significant all-round contribution in all the matches.
Harbhajan Singh has been fantastic in the Powerplay overs and if Lasith Malinga comes back after a match’s break. If he plays in Sunday’s match, he would most likely replace Kiwi pacer Tim Southee, who leaked runs in the game in Bengaluru.
Another notable aspect will be the lack of dew which becomes a factor during evening matches.
For Gujarat Lions, they would like to start with the opening pair of Brandon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, both having regained form.
Also, skipper Suresh Raina got some runs under his belt so as Aaron Finch, and this will boost their chances. All the four batsmen back in form would make any bowling attack in the world worry so of Mumbai’s.
Even their bowling attack which was hammered so far got a new lease of life with Australian pacer Andrew Tye.
Tye, who snapped up the second hat-trick of this season, would need support from others especially Praveen Kumar who was listless in the game against RPS.
Ravindra Jadeja and Shadab Jakati’s role is crucial for them if they have to restrict Mumbai line up.
A definite entertainment for the crowd is on the cards as the hosts would like to continue their love affair with Wankhede and retain the top spot.
Likely playing XI:
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Kieron Pollard, Jos Buttler (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, McCullum , Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (Captain), Aaron Finch, McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Ravindra Jadeja, Nathu Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar, Shivil Kaushik, Andre Tye, Shahdab Jakati