Now or never for Mumbai Indians
With their backs to the wall, Mumbai Indians face a must win situation against hosts Rajasthan Royals Monday to keep alive their semi-final hopes in the Indian Premier League.
Mumbai Indians went down to Delhi Daredevils Saturday and need to win both their matches against Rajasthan Royals and Bangalore Royal Challengers Wednesday to book a semifinal spot.
Daredevils have finished all their league matches and are placed third on the IPL table with 15 points. Daredevils’ hopes of reaching the last four depend on the outcome of the rest of the matches of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, who are in fourth place (14 points) with one match left against Deccan Chargers Tuesday.
Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI have already booked two semifinal slots.
Mumbai Indians are going to have their task cut out. The Royals are in great form and have not showed any signs of complacency in the tournament. But the vistors may get a breather as the Royals may rest Graeme Smith, who scored 90 runs against Super Kings. He has a small hamstring injury.
Mumbai Indians have had an up and down tournament - starting with four losses, recovering to register six wins on the trot and then slumping to two successive loses, though both defeats - against Kings XI and the Daredevils - were close.
“We lost two close matches and it was just not our day. We have done well in the tournament after losing our first four matches and there is no reason why we cannot come back from here and win the last two matches,” Robin Uthappa told reporters after the match against the Daredevils.
Mumbai Indians got a good opening through Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar against the Daredevils but the middle-order collapsed and it is here that they need to tighten things.
Their fielding also needs to improve a lot. They gave away too many runs in the outfield Saturday.
Royals, already in the semi-finals, will be looking to experiment with their players as they did in their previous match against the Chennai Super Kings where they rested their four key players. Still, the Royals went on to win the match by 10 runs.
Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Loots Bosman, Ankeet Chavan, Siddharth Chitnis, Gaurav Dhiman, Dilhara Fernando, Sanath Jayasuriya, Dominic Thornely, Musavir Khote, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Rajesh Pawar, Shaun Pollock, Saurabh Tiwary, Ashwell Prince, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohan Raje, Luke Ronchi, Pinal Shah (wicket-keeper), Swapnil Singh, Y. Vijay Takawale, Robin Uthappa, Vikrant Yeligati
Shane Warne (captain), Aditya Angle, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Kamran Akmal (wicket-kepper), Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Mahesh Rawat, Darren Lehmann, Parag More, Morne Morkel, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Niraj Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Anup Revandkar, Jaydev Shah, Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanvir, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Younus Khan, Justin Langer, Dinesh Salunke.