Mumbai Indians v Kings XI, IPL 2014, Mumbai May 2, 2014

Mumbai look for succour at home

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Agarkar: Not going to get easier for Mumbai

Match facts

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)

Big picture

There's nothing like the comfort of home venues, specially for IPL teams, and Saturday's match against Kings XI Punjab may just be the fresh start Mumbai Indians are looking for. They were unbeaten in all home games last season and will hope they can keep the table-toppers from ruining their winning streak at the Wankhede.

Mumbai have some of the biggest names in cricket as part of their think-tank, but their squad selections have been baffling. They have three full-time wicketkeepers in (not including Ben Dunk) and are thin on batting back-ups. With little room to manoeuvre with their foreign selections, it was therefore surprising to see Jalaj Saxena replaced by West Indies' Lendl Simmons, a top-order batsman and part-time medium-pacer. An Indian batsman would have been ideal for the side, but if they opt for Simmons, it would mean that either Ben Dunk or Corey Anderson would have to be left out.

Compare this with Kings XI who have found balance in the squad early on. Their bowling was profligate at the start of the tournament but on pitches that were wearing down, they stepped up and did well on the days the batting failed. Indian grounds, with their flat tracks and short boundaries, will be a different challenge for them.

There's another level of interest to this match. Three Kings XI players - Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Rishi Dhawan - were on the Mumbai roster until last season. Maxwell spent a lot of that time on the bench - he played fewer games than Dhawan - but after scores of 15 and 6 in his last two games, he'll be hankering for a big score.

Form guide (most recent first)

Mumbai Indians: LLLLL
Kings XI Punjab: WWWWW

Players to watch

After an indifferent start to the tournament, Kieron Pollard struck form with an unbeaten 33 against Delhi and then bludgeoned six sixes on his way to a 48-ball 78 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, that almost took Mumbai Indians to their first win. With an unsettled combination rocking Mumbai's boat, Pollard's form is about the only thing positive for them right now.

Young Indian fast bowlers had an impressive outing in the UAE leg but amid that hype, L Balaji has quietly emerged as one of Kings XI's more successful bowlers with eight wickets in five games. He's provided a steady back-up to Mitchell Johnson and Sandeep Sharma and has also taken on the role of a mentor with the younger quicks in the side.

Stats and trivia

  • Sandeep Sharma has the best strike rate among all bowlers so far - 9.4 after three matches and seven wickets
  • Harbhajan Singh has been the most economical bowler for Mumbai conceding only 5.52 runs an over so far.
  • Punjab have beaten Mumbai seven times in 12 games between the two sides

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • android_user on May 3, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    @ranjit gunawardene "Get rid of Anderson". Yeah, sure. Has had 2 games good with ball, always fields well and has scored runs after moving up the order apart from SRH. What are you?

    @Westpan2 Well said.

  • westen2 on May 3, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Who gave the right to Rajit Gunaerwala to make such propostarus comments about cricketers and Mumbai team management?As with all players, each player has an out of form ( Gambhir & AB de Villiars) or is not in touch with cricket ( Hussey & Muralitharan) but that doesn't mean you have the bloody right to insult cricketers with that potential. Yes, they might misfire and maybe a wrong decision, but as spectarors we have the responsiblity to enjoy the game instead of controlling it. To those who make up their own team, play the fantasy league and leave the reality to the respectable captains !!

  • dummy4fb on May 3, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    since the auction, it was totally wrong decisions that put MI at this win less situation..( may be too many decision makers ) Last time too they went with old super stars like Ponting.. all knows how he failed but luckily Devon Smith did extremely well which helped fir MI in winning the title .. They did the same mistake by going with Hussy this time.. aging players won't work at al with less domestic and international appearencel.. (Murali too is an example in IPL.. star player but a total failure.. ) They had a good chance to get in Bandri or an IND batsman but what a big mistake again.. going after a low profile intentional player.. !!! Also the squad is very week compared to last time, hardly you could find any replacements for international players.. so basically what they could do is to give a chance to dunk again.. Get rid of Anderson and a give a chance to a genuine fast bowler like Santokie or hazlewood or De Lange..so that atleast MI will be able reduce some runs...!!

  • dummy4fb on May 3, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    Why do the Indians, including Mumbai themselves, think Corey is a number 3? Even at age group level he was a number 4 with Neesham three. The Indian batsman will have to step up after Dunk... and then Pollard and Corey should be 5 and 6. I know they are desperate for a win (and even as a DD fan I wish them well tonight), but desperation and stupidity do not need to go hand in hand. Corey should walk to the crease with 8 overs to go and try and hit a quick 50... that is when he is at his best. They have read too much into the circumstances surrounding his quickest hundred in the shortened odi I reckon... whatever happens, do not drop him... m DD team currently are not playing Neesham, preferring Parnell... and that alone is pretty dumb if you ask me. All-rounders are two players.

  • ladycricfan on May 3, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    Hussey plays safe at the start of the innings and accelerate later. He needs a big hitter to open with him. Vijay did that well for CSK and the partnership was very successful. If Vijay fell early Raina at 3 did the hitting. Now that Rohit Sharma is opening for MI Hussey might get a look in if he is doing well in the nets. He is too good a player fail too soon after a successful BBL. MI needs to get the correct players in correct order. Looking forward to an exciting Saturday.

  • anshu.s on May 3, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    There are lot of queries why didn't MI go for Badrinath simple answer is IPL rules state that you cannot replace an outgoing going players by someone whose base price was higher than the outgoing player, Jalaj Saxena was brought by MI for 90 lakhs and Badri base price is 1 crore, so Badri was not an option but that does not mean MI coudn't have bid for young Indian batting talent unsold at auction like Siddesh Lad ,Prashant Chopra,Nikhil Gangta who all are good stroke players , if they were looking for solidity then they could have gone for Ankeet Bawne... options were many but MI are always stuck on foriegn names and big name Indian players, there owners and those at RCB fancy themelves as some sort of Real Madrid with Galactico like approach, uncapped Indian players going to auction pool has hurt teams like MI and RCB big time because previously they used to stockpile these players at low prices.

  • Siva_Bala75 on May 3, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Choose the 'best' possible Indian 7 and then balance the team by the 'optimum' overseas 4. Many teams are missing this point. Learn from Dhoni/ CSK. Last year the whole season Faf sat out and this season Badree is sitting out because of this reason. Mumbai's Indian contingent is weak- it was a surprise when Jalaj Saxena was replaced by an overseas player and not an Indian!

  • android_user on May 3, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    its India surely hussey need to replace Ben dunk

  • android_user on May 3, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Rohit always does well in India .Kieron's form will be a big boost for Mumbai .one win will bring Mumbai back to hunt for the title

  • BRUTALANALYST on May 3, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    With Anderson continuing to struggle with the bat having no experience in India and only bowling the odd over Simmons has to replace him. M.I need a fresh start in the Indian leg and he could be the man to do it he'll also add a boost in spirits and some Trini comradery for Pollard who is key to M.I having any chance of turning their fortunes around.

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