The Indian Premier League (IPL) is no stranger to venue changes. Over its nine seasons, three editions have seen last minute adjustments and relocation. This year though, two teams in particular – Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants - will have to face the inconvenience.
Champions Mumbai play their first ‘home’ game away on Sunday when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Visakhapatnam.
With the tournament at its business end and jostling on for knockout berths, it is a phase when MI need home advantage, something that played a vital role in last year’s title triumph.
For Mumbai, victories at home have always come at the right time. This year, though, they have been forced to change their home base for the rest of the competition owing to the drought in Maharashtra.
Members of the team management and captain Rohit Sharma spoke at length to the ground staff about the pitch. A win over Sunrisers on Sunday could see Mumbai move past them into fourth place in the table.
Although it is their away game, it is Sunrisers who will make the shorter trip from their base in Hyderabad. And till Saturday, around 17,000 tickets had been sold online. That number is bound to swell as fans would love to watch David Warner and Rohit Sharma, both of whom are in excellent form.
Although Mumbai are a settled side, Sunrisers are flying high after a series of victories. MI seemed to suffer due to their over-dependence on Rohit, but Parthiv Patel, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya and Ambati Rayudu have provided backup. In bowling, Mitch McClenaghan and Tim Southee have come good in the absence of the injured Sri Lankan slinger, Lasith Malinga.
“As players we have played a lot of matches here, but as a team it will be our first game. We will have to look [at] the wicket tomorrow and assess the conditions and play accordingly,” pacer Jasprit Bumrah said.
“It is a challenge. We have practiced on the ground and have got a feel of it. As professionals, we have to adapt and try and do well in Vizag.”