MUMBAI: Their winning streaks snapped, hosts Mumbai Indians as well as visitors Kolkata Knight Riders would be anxious to regain that momentum when they clash in the Indian Premier League match on Monday.
Sachin Tendulkar-led MI, after starting off their campaign in great style by winning the opening two ties, came a cropper at the Brabourne Stadium last night against a highly-disciplined effort by Anil Kumble’s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Sourav Ganguly-captained KKR too began their campaign after two largely unsuccessful editions by fashioning upset away victories against defending champions Deccan Chargers and runners-up RCB before losing the next two ties.
These two charismatic captains, who have rubbed shoulders over more than a decade and a half for India, would be anxious to rediscover the magic potion for their teams to cut the losing streak before it spoils their campaign.
The worrying factor for the hosts has been their bowling attack. Mumbai Indians were almost tripped in their opening game against Rajasthan Royals when Yusuf Pathan tore apart their attack with his audacious shots after they had run up a huge score of 212/7.
After a brilliant batting and bowling display in the next match away against Delhi Daredevils, the team collectively failed last evening against RCB and would need to pull up their socks if they don’t want to lose two matches in-a-row.
There are two issues confronting the hosts, the poor form of veteran Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya — who has not crossed 30 in the three matches and the injury sustained by key middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu in Sunday’s clash.
Rayudu fell on his elbow while trying to catch Jacques Kallis and needs to undergo an X-ray to show the extent of the damage sustained, said team coach Robin Singh after the match.
"I have no idea about Rayudu’s condition. It will be known after the X-ray comes. The physiotherapist is working on it," he said.
MI’s top-order batsmen failed to get going against RCB and the steep slum from 71/2 to 76/6, when they lost four wickets in 10 balls, undid them, Singh conceded.
"We just collapsed. We lost four wickets in two overs. It’s difficult to recover after losing four wickets in two overs," the former India all-rounder said.
The team’s fielding and bowling effort was also below par and skipper Tendulkar was seen seething with anger at this indifferent approach when RCB’s batting was in progress.
In comparison, KKR’s woes are mostly on the batting front as their bowlers have not allowed opposition to cross 170 in any of the four ties they have played.
The bowlers restricted Deccan Chargers for 150 and ensured the small total of 161 was enough to force a 11-run win and then restricted the strong RCB line-up to 135/7 to give KKR’s campaign a flying start.
Even in the two losses the Knight Riders suffered, against Chennai Super Kings at home on March 16 and Rajasthan Royals on Saturday at Ahmedabad, the opponents did not cross 170. The availability of New Zealand pacer Shane Bond has added strength to their firepower.
But the batting has been largely inconsistent with Manoj Tiwary flopping after a superb display in the opening match and Brad Hodge not really going on to play a big anchoring innings.
The availability of West Indian captain Chris Gayle, who could not play, on Saturday, as he woke up with a fever in Ahmedabad after a long journey from home, should be a big boost for the Knight Riders top-order batting.
With four days’ rest before taking on laggards Kings XI Punjab in their next match in Mohali, the Knight Riders have every opportunity to go full tilt against Mumbai Indians.
The teams (from):
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (capt), Murtaza Ali, Dwayne Bravo, Shikhar Dhawan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Dilhara Fernando, Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Zaheer Khan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ryan McLaren, Chandan Madan, Ishan Malhotra, Lasith Malinga, Graham Napier, Abhishek Nayar, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Rajagopal Sathish, Syed Shahabuddin, Rahul Shukla, Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sourav Ganguly (capt), Chris Gayle, Varun Aaron, Shane Bond, Ajit Agarkar, Ashok Dinda, Brad Hodge. Iqbal Abdulla, Murali Kartik, Harshad Khadiwale, Charl Langeveldt, Ajantha Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Chirag Pathak, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Owais Shah, Ishant Sharma, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Manoj Tiwary, Ganapathi Vignesh, Rohan Gavaskar. (PTI)