Recovering from that shock result won’t be an easy task as they travel to face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday, who started their season with a thoroughly one-sided nine wicket win over Rajasthan Royals.
Mumbai Indians have one major concern. Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (1-37), Mustafizur Rahman (1-39) and Mitchell McClenaghan (1-44) were taken to the cleaners by Bravo. When all three premier pacers have a bad day, it’s almost impossible to recover. Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the IPL so it’s not as if Mumbai have a lot of options in that department.
Opening batsmen Evin Lewis and Rohit Sharma failed in the opening game and if one of them fires against Sunrisers, it will ease the pressure on the middle order. All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s fitness will be another concern after his ankle injury in the opening game.
The Sunrisers, on the other hand, hardly put a foot wrong against the Royals. Fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Billy Stanlake were outstanding and the spin duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Rashid Khan were on the mark straightaway.
Shikhar Dhawan’s fifty settled any nerves in the dressing room in the absence of franchise backbone David Warner.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Mumbai leg-spinner Mayank Markande made a lasting impression on his IPL debut. He got three wickets off googlies, including MS Dhoni. He was a bit of an unknown in the opening match but the opposition will not take him lightly anymore. How he manages in this new position will show what he is made of.
Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake looks like he will be by far the quickest bowler this IPL as Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins are all injured. He consistently bowled above 145kph against the Royals and if he manages to keep Rohit and Lewis quiet, or even get them out, that would mean job done.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul, Billy Stanlake
Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mustafizur Rehman, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande
This will be a special occasion for the Royals, not only because it will be their first home game of the season, but because it will be the team’s long-awaited return to their fortress of Sawai Mansingh Stadium for the first time since 2013.
The Royals’ season-opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad was a largely forgettable outing, and the team will be keen to make amends and open their account at their home ground.
The Delhi Daredevils come into this match after being blown away by KXIP’s KL Rahul.
DD posted 166-7 – a respectable total on most occasions, but were caught off guard as Lokesh Rahul got stuck into their bowlers and set a new mark for the fastest half-century in IPL history with 50 off just 14 balls.
Both teams would want to quickly erase the opening game from their memory, but they would do well to take learnings of deficiencies in that game and work towards fixing them.
On paper, the Daredevils look the stronger team; will they be able to translate potential to performance?
Rajasthan Royals have announced New Zealand bowler, Ish Sodhi, as the replacement for their injured spinner, Zahir Khan. The Afghanistan bowler has been ruled out of the tournament and will not be able to contest in cricket for the next few months#RajasthanRoyals pic.twitter.com/VASFqZhyZ4— Sports N Sports (@SportsNSports2) April 10, 2018
Short needs to go big
D’Arcy Short came into this IPL season with a reputation to live up to; the Australian – the top run-getter in T20s so far this year – has a batting strike-rate of 150.38.
RR need him to live up to this billing and see the team off to the blazing starts he has often given teams when playing elsewhere.
Sanju Samson batted well in the first half of his knock in Hyderabad before taking his foot off the accelerator; RR will be served well if he can bat in fifth gear throughout, for the team has depth in batting and can afford their batsmen to play aggressively.
Ben Stokes, the most-expensive signing at the IPL Player Auction 2018, hasn’t been in the best of batting form recently, but RR will hope he can start hitting a few balls out of the park soon.
Colin Munro and Rishabh Pant, who should be in the top three, are the most destructive batsmen in the Delhi Daredevils line-up.
Munro has scored his 400 T20 runs this year at a strike-rate of 189.57, while Rishabh Pant’s career strike-rate of 161.59 is the best among all Indian batsmen with more than 1000 runs in T20 cricket.
DD will need fireworks from the pair.
While the Rajasthan Royals bowling attack had plenty of variety, that did not translate to success on the pitch; their bowlers managed to pick up only a solitary wicket in the match against SRH.
Ben Stokes isn’t completely fit and might not bowl four overs always; hence Jaydev Unadkat needs to step up to be the leader of the pack.
DD’s bowling attack has weakened with Kagiso Rabada being ruled out of the season because of injury.
With that development, the burden of being the team’s bowling spearhead has fallen on the shoulders of Chris Morris, who will need to return rich hauls.
Amit Mishra – the second-highest wicket-taker in the IPL – has a fabulous record against RR (26 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 16.38) and he will be expected to add to his tally.
Ajinkya Rahane (c), D’Arcy Short, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin
Colin Munro, Gautam Gambhir (c), Shreyas Iyer, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Daniel Christian, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami.
A superb innings from young England batsman Sam Billings (56 off 23) and some late heroics from Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, saw the Chennai Super Kings through to a thrilling last-over victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday night in Chennai.
Earlier Andre Russell unleashed his full array of strokes in a powerhouse stay at the crease that in the end came to nothing in a match that was well worthy of the IPL’s return to Chennai.
Here are our three things learned:
Kolkata has some clean hitters
After just two matches it’s clear, surprise package the Knight Riders clearly possess two of the cleanest hitters in the tournament in Andre Russell and Robin Uthappa.
Russell smashed 11 huge sixes in his 88 off just 36 balls (SR: 244.44) including the biggest maximum so far in the tournament – a 105-metre slog over the grandstand at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium which forced the umpires to quickly send for another ball.
He would have scored even more if England all-rounder Tom Curran had not wasted the three balls in the final over – a trio of deliveries that Russell could have used to propel himself past 100.
The Jamaican was dropped by Jadeja on the boundary when he was 47 – a miss that proved very costly as Russell launched a recovery that saw Kolkata go from 89 for five to set a challenging total of 202 – and saw the 29-year-old grab the orange cap for the current highest run-scorer in the tournament.
Uthappa only stayed for 16 balls, before stupidly running himself out, but he also launched three blasts into the crowd including a 90-metre hoik over long leg.
Super Kings’ spinners can shine
It’s just two games in but Chennai clearly have an impressive arsenal of spinners who take wickets and keep the scoring rate down.
MS Dhoni, who usually swaps his bowlers superbly, will be wishing he used his spinners more and pacemen less, especially Dwayne Bravo who went for an unusually high 50 off his three overs including seven sixes.
The Chennai skipper will be greatly regretting not giving Harbhajan Singh another over or two after the veteran spinner only went for 11 off his tidy two overs including the wicket of in-form Sunil Narine.
Jadeja (19 for one off two overs) also could have been used more.
Pakistan spinner Imran Tahir also got through his four overs for 26 runs without a wicket.
Best of the pacemen was Shane Watson who took two for 39 off four cagey overs, bagging the wickets of Nitish Rana (caught Dhoni) and Dinesh Karthik (LBW).
Watson is far from past it
Supposedly no longer at his best a few years now, the aging all-rounder has shown he has still got it both with the bat and ball.
His two wickets with the ball made him the top wicket-taker after five matches with four.
Then with the bat he got Chennai off to a perfect start picking up 16 off the first over, including a majestic driven six straight back over the bowler’s head.
He then was gifted a five by a disastrous piece of fielding by the Knight Riders to take him to 21 off just 7 balls.
He continued at the same pace scoring 42 off 19 balls (including three sixes) before, much to his frustration, holing out off Curran to Rinku Singh in cow-corner – the young Englishman giving the Aussie a big verbal send-off that may get some closer attention by the match referee, Sir Richie Richardson.
MS Dhoni clearly has faith in the 36-year-old and his faith is being richly rewarded at this stage of the tournament.