Jaipur: Jolted by the loss to Rajasthan Royals in their opening match before the second tie was washed out, IPL champions Mumbai Indians would be eager to stamp their authority in a do-or-die battle against Highveld Lions in their Group A game of the Champions League T20 here on Friday.
Like Mumbai, the Lions have also lost one match while another got abandoned. Both the teams have just two points from as many outings and in order to keep their chances alive in the tournament, would need to win Friday’s game.
The star-studded Mumbai outfit could not have hoped for a worse start. They looked a bit rusty while facing the Royals and since then they had little chance to iron out their flaws.
Veteran Sachin Tendulkar, playing his last tournament for the Mumbai Indians, showed some spark with a 15-run cameo against the Royals, which included three fours. But come Friday, Mumbai would need more than that from the star batsman.
Captain Rohit Sharma continued to show good form while Kieron Pollard was also impressive with a 36-ball 47 down the order. Besides these two, the likes of Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Kartik and Ambati Rayudu have the ability to give any opponent a run for their money.
Mumbai’s bowling department, in the absence of Lasith Malinga, failed to take off against Rajasthan. Pacer Mitchell Johnson, who is expected to fill in Malinga’s shoes, went wicketless, while Nathan Coulter-Nile also could not make any impression. India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh looked off-colour as well.
But if the bowlers are able to fire in unison they could easily prove to be more than a handful for the Lions who were seen struggling against leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, whose brilliant four for 15 paved the way for Rajasthan’s victory on Wednesday.
And favourites Mumbai have the resources to get the better of the lowly Lions but they would certainly need to regroup themselves.
The Lions, on the other hand, are under pressure as they face Mumbai with their backs to the wall. They looked pretty inept against the Royals and would need to pull up their socks to pose any challenge to the formidable Mumbai Indians. (PTI)