Mumbai Indians’ second ‘home’ hasn’t been lucky for them. In both their games at the ACA-VDCA stadium here, they have slumped to heavy defeats.
Their batting has been the biggest letdown. Chasing against Sunrisers Hyderabad, they slumped to an 85-run loss, while the decision to bat first against Kings XI Punjab did not change their luck. Mumbai could post just 124 in 20 overs, which resulted in a seven-wicket loss.
Speaking after the match on Friday, skipper Rohit Sharma lamented the unfavourable conditions, the unhappiness over playing away from the Wankhede in Mumbai evident.
“We all know how the Wankhede wicket plays. It’s a good batting track and the ball comes on nicely. But, when you play on these kinds of wickets, where the ball is turning and stopping, it’s not easy for the batsmen.”
“You’ve got to apply a little more on such wickets. We all know that in Mumbai you can catch up, in Bengaluru you can catch up, but on a wicket like this it’s difficult,” he added.
“The wicket keeps getting slower and slower. We saw the last game here between the Sunrisers and Pune, and Pune found it very difficult to chase.”
Mumbai have been in this position before. Last year, they had their backs to the wall but clawed their way back with some inspired performances in the later stages of the competition.
The wins at home had played a crucial role. Mumbai won nearly every game at the Wankhede, and the campaign saw them reach the final, where they emerged champions.
This year, the change in home base seems to have upset their form, which was just starting to improve with Rohit at the forefront of the batting attack.
The sharp turn in the wicket has worked against them. With several big-hitters in the line-up, the slow track has not favoured their game.
“In the last three games were played here, it was difficult to get eight or nine an over in the end because the wicket keeps getting slower and slower,” said Rohit.
Mumbai are fifth in the standings with 12 points from 12 games. Unfortunately, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils, their next opponents, too are on 12 points but have played two games less.
A win against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday will be crucial if Mumbai are to make it to the playoffs. This is their third and final ‘home’ game here, and with the pressure on them, it will be interesting to see how they respond.
Delhi captain Zaheer Khan was back in training after missing the previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad due to ia niggle. He had a long bowling session in the nets and looked fine.
The team management said a final call on his inclusion would be taken ahead of the match. Delhi are placed third and need a win to be secure.