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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

IPL 2017: Mumbai Indians need Rohit Sharma to step up against Kolkata Knight Riders

Mumbai Indians batting will be banking on Rohit Sharma to come good in tough conditions as they prepare to face Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier in Bangalore

ipl-2017 Updated: May 18, 2017 20:14 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times
Rohit Sharma holds the key for Mumbai Indians as they take on Kolkata Knight Riders on a difficult pitch in the second qualifier in Bangalore.
Rohit Sharma holds the key for Mumbai Indians as they take on Kolkata Knight Riders on a difficult pitch in the second qualifier in Bangalore.(BCCI)

Rohit Sharma had a poor start to the Indian Premier League 10, was unlucky to be at the receiving end of a few umpiring howlers and looked uncharacteristically vulnerable against the spinners. In between though, he has also shown glimpses of his class, helping himself to three half-centuries. It’s been an up and down kind of season for the Mumbai Indians captain and its best batsman. (IPL 2017 full coverage)

But come Friday, Mumbai Indians will need their talismanic player to be at his absolute best as their chances of making a match of the Qualifier 2 will depend heavily on Rohit Sharma’s contribution with the bat.

Conditions at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium have tested batting units this season, with the wicket playing up and down and the ball stopping and coming. It’s a situation where a batsman will need to dig into his vast reserves of experience to hold the innings together.

Except Ambati Rayudu and himself, Rohit doesn’t have players who can confidently measure up to these conditions. And looking at the way Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen struggled on Wednesday night, the less experienced batsmen in Mumbai Indians’ rank would be worried.

Mumbai Indians themselves had a torrid time when they last played here in the league stage against Royal Challengers Bangalore and only a special innings from Kieron Pollard took them home.

These are the sort of conditions where the batsmen need to map up things early and then go about dismantling the attack systematically. Against a balanced bowling unit like Kolkata Knight Riders’, scoring runs on this surface becomes tougher.

In Gautam Gambhir, KKR have a shrewd captain, who knows how to exploit the chinks and nerves in the opposition.

Although sure and strong for most part of the tournament, the MI batting unit has suddenly developed some cracks. Hence, the onus is that much more on Rohit Sharma to show the way with runs and inspiration.

Nitish Rana has suffered a sudden dip of form after starting off IPL 2017 in fine fashion.
Nitish Rana has suffered a sudden dip of form after starting off IPL 2017 in fine fashion. ( AFP )

The sudden loss of form of young Nitish Rana has affected their balance. He was the glue which held the batting unit together in the first half. But he has lost his place to the experienced Rayudu.

Rayudu has the game to handle these conditions, but has missed most of the season due to an injury and has had only one good knock since his return.

Opener Parthiv Patel has been their consistent performer but is not exactly a match-winner. As far as Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya are concerned, they are generally known to play cameos.

The need against Kolkata Knight Riders will be to hold the innings, something which David Warner tried but couldn’t pull off on Wednesday night.

The MI captain has quality in strokeplay, the range of shots and big-stage temperament, having won the title three times already (one with Deccan Chargers and two with Mumbai Indians).

In the previous game against Rising Pune Supergiant though, Rohit fell for one run as Mumbai Indians failed to chase down 162.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ most successful bowler against Sunrisers Hyderabad, pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile said they will have the advantage of knowing the conditions better. “We’ve played them twice already, we know what they’re going to bring. We know what we do. We know what the wicket is like, which is an advantage to us. I think they haven’t played here in a while.”

First Published: May 18, 2017 20:12 IST

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