Super Kings look to set Mumbai record straight
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
They may be at opposite ends of the points table but Mumbai Indians will go into Saturday's match against Chennai Super Kings aware of one record - they are the team to have defeated Super Kings the most number of times in the IPL, nine out of 16 encounters. At the Wankhede, their IPL record against Super Kings stands 4-0. To top that off, Mumbai have won 10 successive IPL games at the ground.
While they would have come as immense confidence boosters, Mumbai's last two wins at home have only underlined how heavily reliant the batting is on Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. The focus, though, will be on Mumbai's bowlers, fresh off having reined in Royal Challengers Bangalore. Harbhajan Singh had been economical through this tournament, but against Chris Gayle and co, he stepped up as the bowling leader Mumbai needed in the absence of Zaheer Khan. He and Lasith Malinga will have to take charge again - Praveen Kumar comes into the IPL with little cricket in recent months, and Jasprit Bumrah will be playing his first match against the formidable Super Kings.
It says something about the quality of your side when the world's best T20I bowler is warming the benches. It took an outrageous innings from Glenn Maxwell to halt Super Kings' six-match winning streak but on one of their worst days in the IPL, they also ended up scoring 187 for 6, despite the early loss of Dwayne Smith. Despite that failure, Smith will be a key player for them, with his familiarity of Mumbai's conditions and their bowling.
Mumbai Indians: WWLLL
Chennai Super Kings: LWWWW
Where they stand
Mumbai Indians: 7th on the table with two wins in seven games
Chennai Super Kings: 2nd , with six wins in eight games
In their match in Dubai, Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 71 set up Super Kings' chase of 142 after Mohit Sharma had dismantled Mumbai's batting with returns of 4 for 14. Rohit Sharma's 50 and Corey Anderson's 39 were the only substantial knocks in an otherwise average batting effort.
Watch out for
In the last three IPL seasons for Kings XI Punjab, Praveen Kumar picked up 31 wickets. In the lead-up to this IPL, he played seven limited overs matches in the 2013-14 domestic season and went unsold in the auction. His history of fitness and disciplinary issues is well documented but he has also stated in the past how important the IPL is in making a national comeback.
So strong has the Super Kings' top-order been in this IPL that Faf du Plessis' scores of 24, 7, 20 and 0 - all prior to the match against Kings XI Punjab - barely made a dent. In his last outing, du Plessis made use of the opportunity to play himself into form during an improbable chase and his 52 off 25 only adds muscle to an already robust line-up.
Stats and trivia
- Among bowlers who have bowled at least 50 overs, Mohit Sharma has the best overall strike rate in the IPL of 13.6
- Super Kings have 17 hundred-run partnerships in the IPL. Mumbai are second with 12
- MS Dhoni needs three more dismissals to overtake Adam Gilchrist as the most successful wicketkeeper in the IPL. Gilchrist has 67 dismissals, while Dhoni has 65
"I guess the main thing is you don't panic. We have won two now and (teams on) the table are actually not that far apart. Anyone is sort of biding for that third or fourth spot at the moment."
Corey Anderson is hopeful of Mumbai Indians' bid for a playoff spot.
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo