Mumbai Indians v Lions, CLT20, Jaipur September 26, 2013

Time running out for Mumbai and Lions

The Preview by Alagappan Muthu

Match facts

September 27, 2013
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Both teams have taken the field only once in this Champions League T20, but when Mumbai Indians and Lions meet in Jaipur, neither will be far from desperate times. Both could not impart any damage to Rajasthan Royals' perfect record at their home ground this year and with torrential rain in Ahmedabad causing a double washout to compound their troubles, Mumbai and Lions are still searching for their first win. They will need to win to prevent themselves from a situation wherein their fortunes are dependent on other results.

History sides with Lions, although their 2-0 record over Mumbai was cultivated in South African conditions and with a markedly different team. Neil McKenzie's absence, courtesy a pulled stomach muscle, hit them hardest in their previous match. Though captain Alviro Peterson acclimatised reasonably well to his new role in the middle order, there was very little support on offer from the others, unlike in the last edition when veteran opener Gulam Bodi - another man who was missing from the XI against Royals - gave McKenzie company among the top three run-getters in the tournament.

Experience, however, does not guarantee success as depicted by Mumbai's faltering top order. Only once has the opening partnership crossed 12 in the last five matches and Mumbai will hope that on a true Jaipur pitch, Sachin Tendulkar, who had averaged 22.07 in IPL 2013, and Dwayne Smith strike better rhythm. They might have to contend with the threat of Imran Tahir, after Lions witnessed the exploits of legspinner Pravin Tambe first-hand.

The situation reverses in the bowling department with Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Coulter-Nile forming a potent combination at the top, the former bringing the ball in and the latter taking it away. Without Malinga's pin-point yorkers to bank on in the death and Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha looking tame enough that they only bowled four overs between them in the first match, Mumbai will have to concentrate on early wickets.

There's a bit of a sidenote to this match: Tendulkar is 31 runs short of becoming only the 16th player and first Indian to aggregate 50,000 runs in all recognised cricket.

Players to watch

Hardus Viljoen lived up to his billing of being as fast as Dale Steyn, consistently touching speeds in excess of 145kph. His height adds an extra dimension, which could prove decisive on a pitch with ample carry and against a batting line-up that revolves around Indian batsmen and Kieron Pollard.

The rise of Ravindra Jadeja has relegated Pragyan Ojha to excess baggage in the Indian team and he would have endured a sense of déjà vu as he was limited to bowling only one over in Mumbai's opening match. Against a side on its first tour of India, his flight and guile would be expected to make an impact.

Quotes

"We need to lift our game, and if we do that, we have enough talent in our bowling and batting to make it to the semis."
Lions bowler Sohail Tanvir displays a never-say-die attitude

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