Going into IPL 2017 as one of the favourites, two-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians lost their first match against Rising Pune Supergiant by seven wickets. Since then, the Rohit Sharma-led side have won all their matches and are second in the points table.
They will look to continue their winning streak and go to the top when they take on Gujarat Lions at the Wankhede Stadium later today. The biggest concern for them will be the form of their skipper, Rohit, and the team management, just like the fans, will hope that the Hitman gets some runs under his belt.
At least one change is expected in the MI XI from their last match as Lasith Malinga is set to return to action after missing the last match. Ambati Rayudu is set to miss this match as he is still recovering from the groin injury that he sustained during the game against RPS. Here is the possible playing XI for Mumbai Indians:
It’s high time that the Mumbai Indians team management decide to stop experimenting and make Rohit Sharma open the innings ahead of Jos Buttler. Rohit is having a nightmare in the middle order and it won’t be a bad idea to make him bat at the position in which he has scored tons of runs in his career. Opening the innings will also give Rohit some time to get his eye in.
Parthiv Patel has been in fine form and is likely to open the batting for Mumbai Indians against the Gujarat Lions. Though there were some criticisms over his strike-rate in this format, it is highly unlikely that he will be made to warm the bench. He gave his team a flying start against Sunrisers Hyderabad and will look to do the same against Gujarat.
Nitish Rana is easily one of the finds of this year’s IPL. The youngster from Delhi is the leading run scorer for Mumbai Indians this season as he has played some crucial knocks for his team. After failing in the last match, he will look to make amends for it when he comes out to bat against Gujarat.
Jos Buttler, who opened the innings for Mumbai Indians in their first four matches, did a decent job at the top of the order. But, to get the team combination right, Buttler should bat in the middle order, something that will allow captain Rohit Sharma to open the batting. Buttler is an experienced middle-order batsman and it won’t be a bad idea if he bats in the position where he has flourished in the past.
Hardik Pandya had a terrible outing for MI last season but started the 2017 edition with a bang as he has contributed with both bat and ball in almost all the matches. He just needs to continue the good work. It won’t be a surprise if he gets a promotion in the batting order
With Ambati Rayudu ruled out, Krunal Pandya had a huge responsibility on his shoulders and the all-rounder from Baroda lived up to the expectations. After failing in the first match of the season, Krunal found his A-game and showed some calm and composure in the team’s victory in the next three matches.
Kieron Pollard was often criticised for not contributing with the bat but he silenced his critics in style in his team’s last match against RCB as he scored a match-winning fifty when Mumbai were 7/4 inside the first three overs. This should give the Trinidadian some confidence going into the future matches.
Harbhajan Singh has been the wrecker-in-chief for Mumbai Indians this season as he played a crucial role for Rohit Sharma and co. In spite of not being among the leading wicket-takers this season, the Indian international made sure that the opposition batsmen found it difficult to get going against him. He played a key role in keeping the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, David Warner etc. at bay and will look to do the same against Brendon McCullum and co.
Mitchell McClenaghan might not be as effective as he was in the last two seasons but he is still a vital cog in Mumbai’s wagon this season. He provided the crucial breakthroughs in the first four matches and will hope to control the run flow in the coming matches.
After missing Mumbai Indians’ previous match due to illness, Lasith Malinga is expected to be back in the playing XI for the game against Gujarat Lions. He looked sharp in the two matches he played and the MI fans will expect the same from the right-arm pacer when he takes the field vs GL. In all likelihood, he will replace Tim Southee in the playing XI.
Jasprit Bumrah has got into his groove and this is will be bad news for the opposition. The right-hander is back amongst the wickets and is keeping the run flow at bay in the death overs, something that made the difference for his team in the matches against RCB and KKR. Bumrah and Malinga bowling in tandem in the death will make life difficult for the opposition batsmen.