IPL 2017, Qualifier 1: Mumbai Indians’ strengths and weaknesses
Mumbai Indians will be looking to secure their spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 final when they face Rising Pune Supergiant in the Qualifier 1 on Tuesday.ipl 2017 Updated: May 15, 2017 16:49 IST
Mumbai Indians haven’t tinkered much with their squad and the same is expected of them when they square off against Rising Pune Supergiant in Qualifier 1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday. The two-time champions don’t have any major worries and will look to avenge the two defeats they suffered at the hands of RPS in the group stage.
Openers on fire
The opening act was always difficult for Mumbai Indians to get right in the last few seasons but that has been ironed out this time around. The openers, Parthiv Patel, Jos Buttler --- who has returned to England --- and Lendl Simmons have given them solid starts. Parthiv is Mumbai’s third-highest run-getter in this edition, Buttler had a few great knocks and Simmons has two half-centuries in three matches.
Bowlers keep it going
MI have one of the best bowling combinations and that’s one reason for them finishing atop the standings. Mitchell McClenaghan is their top wicket-taker, Jasprit Bumrah has bowled tight spells and Harbjahan Singh and Krunal Pandya have bowled in tandem in the middle overs to make sure the opposition doesn’t run away with the match. If anyone misses the bus, they have Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard as backups in the playing XI.
Rohit returns to form
Skipper Rohit Sharma had a disastrous start with the bat but has bounced back, and in the last seven matches he has scored three half centuries. MI will look up to him to keep things moving in the middle overs. Rohit has always been a big-match player and his form will go a long way in deciding whether Mumbai make it to final or not.
Rana going off the boil
Nitish Rana was off the blocks in a jiffy, playing some crucial knocks in the initial stages, but his form has deserted him in the last few matches. With Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu playing crucial knocks in the last match against Kolkata Knight Riders, MI may be tempted to bench the Delhi left-hand bat and draft either Tiwary or Rayudu in the starting XI against Pune.
Malinga needs to fire
The highest wicket-taker IPL history, Lasith Malinga hasn’t found his range this season. The Sri Lankan slinger’s pace has been down and he isn’t finding the block hole regularly as he used to in the past. He has conceded nearly 10 runs per over and Mumbai will expect more from him if he is selected in the starting XI.
Fielding a concern
For a team that has Jonty Rhodes as its fielding coach, MI’s efforts have been modest. In a crunch match like the Qualifier 1, they will have to be on top of their game as a slight mistake could change the course of the game.
First Published: May 15, 2017 16:49 IST