New Delhi: It is a battle between two ends of the table as a robust Mumbai Indians take on revamping Gujarat Lions at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, tonight.
Mumbai's juggernaut kept rolling slowly and silently to the coveted play-offs spot, until they were once again halted by 'ghost of defeat past'. Yes, it was Rising Pune Supergiant, who once again got the better of their neighbours, thus pulling them down from their comfortable top position to second. Well, as for tonight, they definitely will be looking to restore things back to where they were, and after the healthy four-day break, Rohit Sharma and his men in blue must be all rejuvenated to tackle the Lions in their cage.
A disturbing first-half of the campaign saw the Lions loitering at the bottom of the table until the much unanticipated victory over the present table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders and then again against the struggling Bengaluru team at their home ground. Lying now at sixth position with a rather reliable net run rate, Suresh Raina will be looking to continue their form and add on to the concern of Mumbai.
Here are the players who could play a crucial role for their team...
Suresh Raina- There is a reason why he is the best T20 batsmen India has ever seen. Having scored most runs in IPL, and also having notched up a couple of 40+, 30+, he still is among the feared cricketers at strike.
Apart from these, he also has been sensational with his fielding, especially at the slip position.
Andrew Tye- This is the Aussie's first season at the Indian Premier League and he introduced himself like no one before. A hat-trick in his first match, played against the Supergiant, summed up to an astounding fi-fer. And with his last match against Bengaluru, he once again hoisted the flag of his dominance with two back-to-back wickets of Chris Gayle and Travis Head, Though he missed his hat-trick, but he got his third by dismissing Mandeep Singh, off a rather poor delivery.
If Rashid Khan is to googly, then Andrew Tye is to knuckle ball, which he can slow down well below 120kmph, making it more death-dealing.
Mitchell McClenaghan- Although he failed to shine in the first half of the tournament, but the left-arm pacer showed what he is capable of when he shook the very foundation of Delhi batting-lineup with his aggressive shorter deliveries.
And it this aggressive side of his that adds extra pace to his deliveries making him more dangerous.
Kieron Pollard- A fine opening partnership has no effect if the middle order can't carry forward it on. Well, that is what this West Indies power-hitter has done. Carrying on the momentum, or creating matching-winning turns in the game has been a pivotal reason why Mumbai Indians have survived to grab six consecutive victories this season.