IPL 2018: MI vs RCB, Mumbai Indians (MI) today's probable playing 11 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Their fans have seen this happen before.
Staring down the barrel with three losses in as many games, defending champions have their task cut out against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and while the tag of being notorious starters has been resting on them for a few seasons now, they can't just rely on their previous track record of turning the season after a poor start.
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Here's what the lineup could look like against the Royal Challengers:
Local lad Suryakumar Yadav seems to have a much more prominent role this time in the IPL and has lived up to the billing, notching up some crucial knocks for Mumbai, that even resulted in a bump up the order in their last game. Orthodox strokes are all he requires, racking up quick runs in the initial overs with ease.
After a false start, Evin Lewis has finally got going for Mumbai, notching up the fastest fifty in the history of IPL for Mumbai, against Delhi in the previous game. In the powerplays, his boisterous batting is giving the side the required thrust, easing the pressure on the batsmen that followed him.
After being tried out as an opener, Ishan Kishan has been demoted one spot, but still forms an important portion of the Mumbai batting - he has looked confident and enterprising, not shying away from unleashing his strokes - which complements the stability of someone like a Suryakumar.
44 runs in three innings and the pressure is on Rohit Sharma to lead from the front with the bat in hand. He has been struggling to get his timing correct, and while the team's batting has been doing well, there seems to be a hole in the middle, owing to the skipper's lack of form. This could very well be his day to forge a turnaround.
The West Indian has been silent this year, but one knock is all he needs to get going. Despite his waning powers, Kieron Pollard was retained by the Mumbai side, but the crucial No.5 spot will have to be used more effectively by him, especially because he hardly contributes with the ball these days.
Krunal Pandya's importance to the side is underappreciated - while he doesn't set the park on fire with huge hits, he lends immense balance to the side by contributing quickfire cameos towards the death. His bowling is an integral part of their plans, and his face-off against AB de Villiers, whom he has accounted for four times in four innings, makes for an interesting match.
An injury in the opening game has slowed Hardik Pandya, forcing him to miss the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, sending Mumbai's team balance for a toss. Consistency might not be his forte, but there's immense potential - if he gets going with the bat, there is no stopping him. With the ball too, he has been skiddy and tight, right on the money.
Mitchell McClenaghan has looked a shadow of his former self, which could tempt Rohit Sharma to try out Adam Milne against the Kiwi's former IPL team. They need a pacer to bowl with the new ball, saving Jasprit Bumrah and Mustafizur Rahman for the last.
'The Fizz' has been getting his mojo back with every passing game, while the pace has dropped a bit, his off-cutters are still as nagging as they used to be. Getting purchase off the surface, Mustafizur uses his variations to good effect and forms an important part of the bowling attack.
Jasprit Bumrah hasn't been at his best, at least in the first three games, and was taken apart by Dwayne Bravo in the opening game itself. His yorkers, effected without fail before, are turning into full-tosses, and he has been inconsistent with his lines as well. His coming back into form can really turn things for Mumbai.
Despite the indifferent form of his bowling teammates, Mayank Markande has been in his own zone - it doesn't feel as if the Punjab leggie is playing his debut IPL season. He has bowled his heart out, troubling even the likes of MS Dhoni with his canny variations, and is the X-factor Mumbai has been backing on so far.
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