HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014
Keen to set the equation right
Abhijeet Kulkarni, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 13, 2011
First Published: 23:39 IST(13/5/2011)
Last Updated: 03:51 IST(14/5/2011)
Kieron Pollard of Mumbai Indians plays a shot during their Indian Premier League cricket match against Kings XI Punjab in Chandigarh.

The charm of cricket is also in the numerous statistics that an ardent fan likes to rattle off at every opportunity. But number crunching isn't the favourite past-time of cricketers or team managements.

Table-toppers Mumbai Indians are no exception to the rule. The last year's finalists were considered favourites to top the standings at the halfway stage, but a humiliating reverse in their last game against the Kings XI Punjab has changed a few equations.

The top spot was never guaranteed at any stage, but the Sachin Tendulkar-led side can still face the exit door if they lose their remaining games and the results of the other matches affect them adversely.

In that case, the run rate may decide the fourth and final spot in the play-offs, and Mumbai would look to shut out that possibility with a win over the struggling Deccan Chargers at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.

The 2009 champions are the only team who do not have a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage. However, their coach Darren Lehmann made it clear that his team would still love to play spoilsport.

Mumbai, on their part, would want to prove that the 76-run loss to the Kings XI was nothing more than a bad day in office. In that game, the formidable batting line-up collapsed without a fight and it looked like overconfidence led to their downfall.

Precisely why, the Chargers could be a tricky opposition. The visitors are at the bottom of the table and will have nothing to lose after four straight reverses. On the other hand, pressure will be on the hosts for the first time, as they would want to end uncertainty over the knockout berth.

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