After coming back to winning ways in their second match of the Indian Premier League Season 9 against a strong Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Eden Gardens, Mumbai Indians (MI) began their journey with their first points on the table. It was Rohit Sharma who held the MI innings together and comfortably took his side to a win on away turf by 6 wickets. Although, it doesn’t take long for things to change, especially in the IPL, as we have seen in the past. MI will be up against Gujarat Lions who have played some excellent cricket and clinched 2 wins out of 2. Lets have a look at what line-up MI could come up with in their third match.
Top Order: Cricket is a funny game. It was MI’s batting that let them down in their first match of IPL 9 and it was again their batsmen who chased down 188 runs with ease against KKR. With Martin Guptill coming into the squad in place of Lendl Simmons who was ruled out due to injury, MI might give him a chance up the order. This would mean Parthiv Patel may have to sit out. Rohit Sharma is set as the second opener for the Mumbai Indians. Hardik Pandya could again come at No. 3 but with much-more talented batsmen in their squad, MI could promote Buttler up the order, more so after his knock in the last game.
Middle Order: MI’s middle-order is also a quite capable one. With Buttler (if he comes at No. 4) Mumbai Indians can really shift gears at will especially while chasing. Buttler’s stroke-play against KKR has already sent a strong message to the oppositions in the IPL. He might play as a wicketkeeper-batsman if Parthiv Patel sits out. Kieron Pollard is another beast when it comes to making quick runs. The strong-right handed West Indian has a lot of strength and can hit the ball with a lot of power. He’ll be raring to go from ball one against the GL spinners. And then, Ambati Rayudu with his adaptability can also chip in with some valuable runs for MI against Gujarat Lions.
Lower-Order and Bowling: MI bowlers haven’t really been at their best in the last 2 matches. With Pandya proving expensive in his bowling, and Southee too going for runs in the last match, a change is surely on the cards. Harbhajan will surely make the cut as he has been decent and can chip in with his contribution with the bat too. McClenaghan was very impressive with the ball as he took figures of 2-25 in the last match and played a fine cameo coming up the order. Bumrah has been pretty accurate as well. His variations along with his action has been difficult to pick for batsmen. Where MI could make a change is by giving Nathu Singh, the bowler from Rajasthan who impressed everyone in the Ranji Season 2015-16 and was then bought by the Mumbai Indians for Rs 3.2 crores. It might come as a surprise move as Vinay Kumar might be the top choice, but MI can afford to try him at this early stage of the tournament and see how it goes. Suchith might make the cut as the second spinner despite going for runs in the last match.
Mumbai Indians Likely XI: Martin Guptill, Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Jos Butler (wk), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Suchith, Jasprit Bumrah, Nathu Singh
Karan Dewan, a reporter with CricketCountry, loves following and playing sports. He is a Team India fan and loves winning.