After losing the opening game against Rising Pune Supergiant, Mumbai Indians might have got a sense of deja vu. But instead of going on a losing streak as they have done in the past few seasons, they have gone on a six-game winning streak that has put them within touching distance of making it to the play-off. On Monday, they will take on the only side that has beaten them in this year’s competition in the hopes of exacting revenge and extending their winning streak.
In the 28th match of IPL 2017, they take on Rising Pune Supergiant at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Here is the possible playing XI for Rohit Sharma’s side –
Parthiv Patel may not be everyone’s ideal choice of a T20 opener but the Indian wicketkeeper has done more than enough to keep his place in the MI side. His nifty work behind the stumps coupled with the explosive starts that he provides make him an integral part of the MI arsenal.
Jos Buttler has repaid the faith shown by MI in spades, ever since he was promoted to open the innings ahead of Rohit Sharma. While the Indian opener has been struggling in his middle-order role, the English wicketkeeper has been nothing short of sensational and got his side off to a flyer in nearly every game so far.
Nitish Rana‘s performance so far in IPL 2017 is proof that if you have a young talent at your disposal the best thing you can do is provide them with the platform to shine. And the 23-year-old from Delhi has done just that. With three fifties in the first six matches, he is not only the side’s leading run-getter but also in the running for the Orange Cap as well.
Rohit Sharma has had a horrible time so far in IPL 2017. He has struggled any time the opposition have had a decent leg spinner as he has failed to pick the ball. As a result, barring his unbeaten 40 against Gujarat Lions, who have the worst spin attack in the competition, he has scored just 14 runs in the other six matches in this year’s tournament. As the only top-order who hasn’t got going so far, the onus will be on the captain to fire on all cylinders.
Kieron Pollard may not have had a great lead-up to IPL 2017 but when it has mattered most, he has contributed for the Mumbai Indians so far in the tournament. Whether it was a knock of immense control and restraint against RCB or the one he curbed his natural instincts to get his side to a decent total against DD, Pollard has been on song with the willow.
Krunal Pandya has shown that the weight of expectations cannot keep him down and has continually shown that he isn't just another one-season wonder. Whether it is with his economical left-arm spin or his hard-hitting batting, the elder Pandya brother has been a vital cog in the well-oiled MI machine.
Hardik Pandya is just the kind of player who makes you want to forget about the numbers and just concentrate on his contributions to match-winning causes. While he may not have huge scores or tons of wickets in this year's tournament, Hardik has made vital contributions with the bat, ball and in the field when MI have needed it most. The run-out off the first over against DD was one such instance that led to a shift in momentum and an eventual win for his side.
Harbhajan Singh may not have figures that immediately reflect just how important he has been to the MI side in this year’s tournament but that shouldn’t take anything away from his contribution to the side. Five wickets in seven matches might not seem like much, but he has been incredibly economical and has curtailed the flow of runs anytime he has been brought into the attack, an asset that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Mitchell McClenaghan has had a mixed year so far in this tournament. While the Kiwi fast bowler has picked up 12 wickets in seven matches, including at least one in every game, he hasn’t always been inexpensive. But his match-winning performance against DD should be good enough to retain his place in the side.
Mitchell Johnson came in for the unavailable Lasith Malinga for the game against Delhi Daredevils and so impressive was his performance that he is likely to keep the Sri Lankan pacer out of the side, even if the latter is fit and ready to go. After all, figures of 0/23 aren’t too shabby when you consider the fact that he bowled a maiden as well in his spell.
Jasprit Bumrah has seven wickets in seven games but the Indian fast bowler’s radar seemed to have gone astray in the past few matches before he delivered a reminder of just why he is one of the best death bowlers in the business by picking up 2/21 in his four overs. That should be enough to get him back on track, even if he still has to work on his no ball problem that continues to plague him.