Mumbai, April 16: Off to a disastrous start with three successive defeats, Mumbai Indians (MI) will have their task cut out when they lock horns with two-time title winners and in-form Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their Indian Premier league (IPL 8) match here tomorrow.
The home team, which has lost all three matches it played so far to remain the only side without a point in the ongoing eighth edition of the cash-rich event, are under a lot of pressure to turn things around quickly.
Back-to-back defeats to defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals have left Mumbai Indians gasping for survival. But with the round robin stage still at its infancy, the 2013 champions can take heart from the fact that they had bounced back last year also after losing five games initially in the UAE league of IPL 7.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, at least, thinks so and said as much on the sidelines of the MI-Reliance Foundation function yesterday. "Our preparations are very good, but we are unable to execute our plans fully. Even the last time we were in a similar situation, but we came back well," said Sharma.
Head coach Ricky Ponting said, "as a group we are lacking a little bit in confidence at the moment". How well this captain-coach duo and the support staff instill the confidence into the team members would chart MI's progress in the tournament.
In the first three games, the team failed to get off to a good start either in batting or bowling and those would be areas that need amends. To add to the team's woes, Australia's Aaron Finch is set to miss the rest of the IPL due to a damaged hamstring, sustained in the last game against the Royals in Ahmedabad.
Lendl Simmons, who has warmed the bench so far, appears to be the front runner to take Finch's place in the eleven. Harbhajan Singh, who put up a sterling show with both bat and ball in the home game against Kings XI, missed the following game against the Royals due to a crick in his neck.
But the off-spinner yesterday said that he should be able to take the field against the Super Kings. Another encouraging news for MI is the form shown by hard-hitting West Indian Kieron Pollard in the previous match. He smashed the Royals' bowling around, hitting huge sixes in his inimitable style. He and Corey Anderson are the two key all-rounders for the team.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohit Sharma, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Faf du Plessis, Matt Henry, Samuel Badree, Michael Hussey, Kyle Abbott, Andrew Tye, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra, Baba Aparajith, Ishwar Pandey, Mithun Manhas, Ronit More, Rahul Sharma, Ankush Bains, Irfan Pathan, Pratyush Singh, Eklavya Dwivedi.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Aaron Finch, Ambati Rayudu (wicketkeeper), Abhimanyu Mithun, Aditya Tare (wicketkeeper, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Keiron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Josh Hazlewood, Marchant de Lange, Pawan Suyal, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Pragyan Ojha, Mitchell McClenaghan, Aiden Blizzard, Akshay Wakhare, Nitish Rana, Sidhesh Lad, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchitch, Unmukt Chand and R Vinay Kumar.
Match starts 8 PM IST