IPL 2018 Preview: Mumbai Indians desperate to get over final hurdle

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Mumbai Indians lost the first two matches of the IPL. Both games went down to the wire with Mumbai finishing on the losing side by just one wicket.

As they host Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, Mumbai can either draw confidence from the fact they came achingly close to victory on two occasions or worry that they couldn’t close out the match.

The Delhi Daredevils are themselves looking for their first win of the tournament.

TALKING POINTS

The absence of Hardik Pandya has upset the balance of the Mumbai Indians team. He did not feature in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad due to an ankle injury he picked up in the first game and his replacement Ben Cutting didn’t score many runs and went for 40 from his four overs.

If Hardik remains injured, his brother Krunal will have to take more responsibility and possibly move up the order, pushing wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan down.

Seamers Jasprit Bumrah (2-32) and Mustafizur Rahman (3-24) were very good against Hyderabad, which means at least one base is covered for Mumbai.

The Daredevils look some way away from finding their rhythm. Opener Colin Munro has failed in two matches. He is one player who can hold the team together at the top and with the ball but that hasn’t happened.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

Mumbai Indians have unearthed a gem in leg-spinner Mayank Markande. Seven wickets in his first two IPL games means it is impossible to look beyond his leg-spinners and googlies. The nerves must have settled by now and Markande should be in a position to dictate terms.

Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell needs to do a lot better than an indifferent 12-ball 17 against Rajasthan. Maxwell has a big role to play with the bat and ball and given his experience, expect him to make his presence felt sooner rather than later.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan (wk), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya*, Mustafizur Rahman, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande

Delhi Daredevils: Colin Munro, Gautam Gambhir(c), Shreyas Iyer, Glenn Maxwell, Rishabh Pant (wk), Chris Morris, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Shahbaz Nadeem, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami

*Subject to fitness

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IPL 2018 Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore look to set home record straight as they welcome Kings XI Punjab

Ashish Peter 13/04/2018
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RCB have their work cut out at home. Image - RCB/Twitter.

Two teams with contrasting fortunes in their opening games will lock horns in the IPL as Royal Challengers Bangalore host Kings XI Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday (18:30).

The Virat Kohli led Royal Challengers were dealt a four-wicket loss in their campaign opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders while Kings XI made short work of the Delhi Daredevils in their opening match.

The two outfits are among the three existing franchises to have never won the IPL and will be aiming to get their name on the trophy this year.

TALKING POINTS

BANGALORE’S HOME RECORD

Of the seven matches they played at home in 2017, the Royal Challengers managed to win just one. Their poor record at Benglaluru will be in focus as they play in front of their home fans this season.

The hosts will be banking on their star-laden top-order where the likes of Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers will be raring to go. It is in the middle-order and the bowling department where Kohli’s men look a little thin. Therefore, the pressure will be on the big boys to deliver.

KINGS XI LOOKING DANGEROUS

Having only retained one player in Axar Patel ahead of the 2018 auction, Kings XI have hit the reset button under the leadership of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

They started off brilliantly at home as KL Rahul’s fastest fifty in IPL put the Daredevils to the sword in Mohali. Ashwin and his men will be looking to carry that momentum into the Royal Challengers’ den where the pitch has aided the slower bowlers historically.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

Former Royal Challengers crowd-favourite Chris Gayle will be in the opposing dugout come Friday. The swashbuckling Jamaican did not feature in Kings XI’s opening victory but he will be desperate to show his former employers what they missed out on by not retaining him for 2018.

Whether he gets the nod to feature in the playing XI remains to be seen but Bengaluru could be set for a ‘Gayle-storm’ if the left-hander is given the go ahead. The visitors will also be banking on Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s spin which was lethal in the win over Delhi.

Just 17, the Afghan spinner has it all when it comes to variations and could prove to be the find of the season.

For Bangalore, leg-spinner in Yuzvendra Chahal will be in focus after a listless performance in the defeat to Kolkata. He has an excellent record at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and will be the man to watch out for.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock (wk), Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Sarfraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Axar Patel, Andrew Tye, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohit Sharma

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IPL 2018: Analysis of Kieron Pollard display in Mumbai Indians' narrow loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad

Ashish Peter 12/04/2018
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Pollard couldn't do enough to prevent a crushing loss.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians suffered their second-consecutive loss in the 2018 edition of the IPL as they succumbed to a one-wicket defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

A poor performance with the bat proved to be the undoing for Rohit Sharma’s men as they could post only 147-8 after batting first. Only three Mumbai batsmen crossed the 25-run mark with Kieron Pollard being one of them.

Here we take a closer look at Pollard’s 28-run cameo.

STATISTICS

RUNS SCORED: 28

BALLS FACED: 23

BOUNDARIES: 3

SIXES: 2

STRIKE-RATE: 121.73

30-SECOND REPORT

The West Indies all-rounder was called into bat within the first 10 overs itself after Mumbai lost early wickets and he started off in watchful manner before bringing out his trademark big hits pulled off with the minimum of efforts. Pollard’s innings was threatening to stage a late resurgence for the visitors before he was dismissed in bizarre fashion as he looked to check his shot.

GOT RIGHT

With Mumbai struggling for momentum after losing five wickets early, Pollard’s innings gave them a much-needed spark in the middle of the innings. The powerful unit that he is, the right-hander was circumspect at the start of his innings as he looked to get Mumbai’s innings back on track. He did not try to do too much, using his powerful shoulders and timings to find the boundaries without taking too many risks.

GOT WRONG

While there was plenty that Pollard got right, he threw it away at the most crucial of stages. With the final five overs approaching, Mumbai needed Pollard to stay until the very end to have any hopes of a huge total. However, despite being well set, the Trinidad man’s dismissal left much to be desired. He looked to check his punch shot against Billy Stanlake but such is the brute strength in those massive forearms that the ball carried all the way to Shikhar Dhawan at the sweeper-cover boundary.

VERDICT – 6/10

While Pollard did strike some massive blows with the bat in his short cameo, it wasn’t enough in the end as Hyderabad crept over the finishing line. With his undeniable talent to turn the game on its head, Mumbai needed a little more from their star man to have a chance after their top-order collapse. Even a couple more of Pollard’s lusty blows could have made a world of difference to the final outcome.

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