Mumbai Indians player Aditya Tare plays a shot during their T20 League match against Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. (HT Photo/Kunal Patil)
Failing to live up to expectations as defending champions, the Mumbai Indians have been out of sorts, with batting being their biggest drawback.
Bereft of solid starts, they have consistently tweaked the opening pair. Even skipper Rohit Sharma, the regular opener for the India T20 and ODI teams, could not fire at the top.
Michael Hussey, Ben Dunk, CM Gautam, Aditya Tare and Lendl Simmons have also been part of the opening experiment.
On Monday, the side found stability with a new combination. Hussey and Simmons put on a match-winning 120-run opening stand against the Rajasthan Royals at the Sardar Patel Stadium.
The home side was hurt without the services of Ajinkya Rahane, Pravin Tambe and Steve Smith, who were ruled out due to niggles.
Hussey, playing his first game of the Indian leg after a patchy show in the UAE, and Simmons complemented each other with their contrasting styles to help Mumbai post 178 for three in 20 overs.
The Royals could manage 153 for eight in 20 overs, succumbing to a 25-run defeat. Mumbai still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs while the Royals need another victory. With minimal footwork, Simmons was stronger square off the wicket, using his wrists to slash hard at anything that offered width. Hussey took time to settle down before opening up as the duo scored the team’s first 100-run first-wicket partnership this season.