Mumbai: The inconsistent Mumbai Indians would be keen to rediscover their winning touch when they clash with bottom-placed Deccan Chargers in the return leg game of IPL-V, at the Wankhede, on Sunday.
After a five-game losing streak, the Chargers earned their first points against the Kolkata Knight Riders in a washed-out game and then scored their first win of the season against the Sahara Pune Warriors in the latter’s backyard.
Mumbai Indians’ performance has waxed and waned from the opening encounter against defending champions Chennai Super Kings and they go into the game against the Chargers with a 50:50 win-loss record, their last defeat occurring Friday night against the Delhi DareDevils.
Another defeat would dent their chances of advancing to the play-off stage of the competition considerably. With just eight points from as many games, the task has become more challenging for the Mumbai Indians to make it to the last four.
Chargers, on the other hand, would be keen to set right the last-ball defeat suffered against the Mumbai side at Visakhapatnam, on April 9, when Rohit Sharma carried the latter across the finish line with an unbeaten 73.
Some bad luck, in the form of injuries to key players, has also set Harbhajan Singh’s team back. When Sachin Tendulkar regained fitness to finally take the field after recovering from the finger injury sustained in the tournament opener, the team’s bowling spearhead, Lasith Malinga, was laid low by a sore back.
Malinga returned to the playing XI on Friday, but then the side were without James Franklin, who had cracked a match-winning 79 against Kings XI on April 22.
Franklin’s replacement at the top of the order — Aiden Blizzard — fell for a third-ball duck against the DareDevils.
The Tendulkar-Blizzard opening combination was the sixth one tried out by the Mumbai Indians in eight games, an indication of the struggle the team has gone through to put up a settled opening pair on the field.
The latest worry for the Mumbai Indians is the shoulder injury sustained by their main all rounder Kieron Pollard who fell on the right shoulder while fielding and looked in pain after hitting a huge six when batting later.
The bowling form of Munaf Patel and captain Harbhajan is also a major worry for the side. (PTI)