The boys in blue Mumbai Indians went into the IPL as favorites to clinch the third. However the start didn”t go according to their plan. A heartbreaking defeat and injuries to couple of cheif crusaders Rayudu & Pollard sumed up the bad start, something that they have a lot in last few seasons.
Pollard suffered a blow to his arm during Mumbai”s encounter against Rising Pune Supergiant on Thursday while Rayudu has been diagnosed with Grade 1 groin tear which will keep him out for at least 10 days. Both have been veterans for Mumbai Indians and this comes as a huge blow to their side. They will have to restrategize their plan of attack to fix these problems.
Rayudu has been Mumbai”s man for all-season and the one replacing him has got big shoes to fill. From rescuing the side after being 52/5 to coming to bat with 3 overs to go and scoring 25 off 8 balls, he has done everything. Mumbai Indians will miss his sangfroid in trying situations and acrobatics in the field.
Pollard has been one of the most feared batsmen in T20 Cricket. Although his bowling has gone down over the years he makes up for it with his monstrous hits.
To replace Rayudu, Mumbai Indians have got Siddhesh Lad waiting in the wings. Lad was picked up by Mumbai Indians in 2015 but has been warming the bench since then. Mumbai Indians have even picked up Saurabh Tiwary at the auction. Considering that there aren”t too many left handers in the side, Tiwary could well be the man. Mumbai Indians left out Harbhajan Singh in last game, something that proved decisive in the game. They might replace Rayudu with Harbhajan to enhance bowling depth.
As of now, Lendl Simmons is the obvious choice to replace big Kieron Pollard. Simmons has been one of the most consistent openers in the IPL since joining MI in 2014. In a short IPL career spanning 22 games, he has scored 942 at an average of 47. The other options that Mumbai could ponder are Asela Gunaratne and Nicolas Pooran.
Probable XI for KKR game- Parthiv Patel, Lendl Simmons, Rohit Sharma (C), Jos Buttler, Nitish Rana, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McCleanghan, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah
– by Atharva Apte