Mumbai Indians v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2017: MI bank on bowlers v strong GL batting
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma will expect his attack to deliver against a formidable Gujarat Lions’ batting line-up in their 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) matchipl 2017 Updated: Apr 29, 2017 16:12 IST
Any other team would have buckled had their premier strike bowler gone for runs. But such is the depth of Mumbai Indians’ bowling that even Lasith Malinga’s loss of form hasn’t crippled their performance. (FULL IPL 2017 COVERAGE)
As Mumbai Indians look to secure a play-off spot, Rohit Sharma will expect his attack to deliver against a formidable GujaratLions’ batting line-up in 35th match of the 2017 Indian Premier League at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday.
In their first meeting of the season at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Indians recorded a comfortable six-wicket win.
Led by Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell McClenaghan and ably supported by Jasprit Bumrah and Krunal Pandya, the Mumbai Indians’ attack has emerged as one of the strongest and it’s also one of the main reasons for their brilliant start to the campaign which has seen them win six of the eight matches.
Pace spearhead Malinga, who came into the tournament on the back of a T20 hat-trick for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh, had impressive beginning against Kolkata Knight Riders (2/36) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (1/30) but after that he went off the boil.
He was clobbered for 109 in eight overs and the next couple of matches and has sat out in the last two games.
But the others have held the fort. The combination of McClenaghan’s pace at the start of the innings, Harbhajan and Krunal’s miserly bowling in the middle overs and Bumrah’s toe crushers in the death overs has meant that Mumbai have kept a tight leash on the opponents.
Mitchell Johnson, who replaced Malinga in the last two matches, has bowled well in tandem with McClenaghan while Karn Sharma, who came in for injured Krunal, in the last match against Rising Pune Supergiant, held his own. Then not to forget the two all-rounders -- Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard – who are capable of landing telling blows when the situation demands.
While McClenaghan (12 wickets) and Bumrah (9) are their top wicket-takers, Harbhajan, who was left out in the first match, has made a brilliant comeback and is the most economical bowler in this edition. Among the bowlers who have played four or more matches, Harbhajan is the only one to have an economy rate of below six — 5.88 to be precise. All three are in the top-six in the list of most dot balls bowled.
The six matches in which Mumbai have bowled first, they have restricted their opponents below 180 in five of those.
They will have their task cut out against Gujarat Lions, who are high on confidence after their comprehensive win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday and will be playing their last match in Rajkot before moving their home base to Kanpur for two matches.