Its campaign off to a disastrous start, defending champion Mumbai Indians would be gunning for its first win in the seventh edition of IPL but it won’t be easy as it takes on formidable Chennai Super Kings here on Friday.
Mumbai could not have asked for such a nightmarish start as the Rohit Sharma-led side suffered big defeats to Kolkata Knight Riders (by 41 runs) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (by seven wickets) in the first two games.
The Mumbai outfit, has plenty of work to do both in batting and bowling departments.
It is the batting which has hurt the title holder badly as it could only muster 122 and 115 in the previous two games.
Ambati Rayudu got starts in both the matches but failed to convert them into big scores, while senior players like Michael Hussey, skipper Rohit, Kieron Pollard and all-rounder Anderson have been far from impressive and they will have to shoulder more responsibility if the team hopes to defend its title.
On the bowling front, veteran Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga were upto the mark, but the spin department comprising Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha has let the team down.
While Harbhajan has been economical, Ojha leaked runs in both the matches and their inability to pick up wickets has affected the team badly and would be a cause of concern for coach John Wright and mentor Sachin Tendulkar.
Chennai, on the other hand, started its campaign with a six-wicket loss at the hands of Kings XI Punjab. But it stormed back into familiar territory with back-to-back wins over Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals. In fact, Chennai recorded its biggest ever win in terms of runs against the Delhi Daredevils (by 93 runs) before beating Rajasthan Royals by seven runs on Wednesday.
And going by form, Chennai will start as overwhelming favourites against a struggling Mumbai side, which is seeking to get back to winning ways.
Two-time winner CSK will be banking on its strong batting to give it a flying start. After his 28-ball 50 against Rajasthan, Dwayne Smith will be eyeing yet another electrifying knock.
But it is Suresh Raina who will again be the man to watch. The left-handed batsman has been one of the most prolific scorers in the IPL.
After having failed in the last two outings, Brendon McCullum will be hoping to give the team a brisk start with Smith.
Faf du Plessis is always a dangerous customer while Ravindra Jadeja is a dependable bat as well. And then there is skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who will be eager to come good.