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MI look for a turnaround

Mumbai: A struggling Mumbai Indians (MI) would be keen to end their dismal five-match losing streak in IPL VII, but the task is easier said than done as they face tabletoppers Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), at the Wankhede, here, on Saturday.

The Wankhede had been a mini fortress, which could not be breached in eight attempts last year as Mumbai Indians went all the way to clinch their maiden IPL trophy.

With the IPL action shifting back to India, the champions would certainly be eager to turn around their floundering fortunes. Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, would be equally earnest to ensure that their five-match winning streak is not snapped at the Wankhede.

The Kings XI are sitting pretty as the only unbeaten team so far in the competition. For this top perch, they owe it to Glen Maxwell who has hit three scintillating half-centuries to lead the team’s batting might.

Maxwell and David Miller helped Punjab get a flying start in their opening two games against two-time champions Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals.

If the duo failed, there was Virender Sehwag who chipped in with two 30-plus scores in low-scoring affairs. Captain George Bailey, another fine T20 batsman, too can come up with a significant contribution if the occasion asks for one.

In the bowling front, young Sandeep Sharma has proved himself as an ideal assist for Mitchell Johnson, while the experienced Lakshmipathy Balaji and Rishi Dhawan have followed up with excellent support to make matters easier for the Kings XI.

For MI, it’s been batting, more than their bowling, which has caused their slump in this edition. MI have tried out a few opening combinations and failed miserably with captain Rohit Sharma, his Mumbai Ranji Trophy teammate Aditya Tare, Mike Hussey and new signing Ben Dunk, all failing to get going.

The middle order, too, has performed poorly barring the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai when Kieron Pollard found form at last with a blistering 48-ball 78. The West Indian all-rounder’s stupendous, though, effort went in vain as his team fell short of the target of 173. (AGENCIES)