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Winless Mumbai could turn to bench as they take on top-four aspirants Super Giants

After MS Dhoni hit an almost inevitable last-ball boundary off Jaydev Unadkat on Thursday, Mumbai Indians became the first team to start an IPL season with seven successive defeats. The only way for them from there is up; or is there no bottom to the abyss Mumbai are hurtling into?
Halfway into the season, both captain Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan are still searching for their rhythm at the top. Kieron Pollard is yet to pass 25 in an innings, with Lucknow Super Giants probably waiting to unleash their wristspinner Ravi Bishnoi on him to prolong his lean run.

While Jasprit Bumrah has been unhittable at various stages, he has managed only four wickets in seven games. Rohit has been rifling through his options, using 18 of the 24 members in their roster, excluding Jofra Archer who isn’t fit enough for this season. Their latest debutant Hrithik Shokeen, the 21-year-old offspin-bowling allrounder from Delhi, fronted up to bowl to the right-hand pair of Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu in what was his first formal T20 match.

With Mumbai now all but out of the race for the playoffs, will they test their bench strength further and take a closer look at the likes of R Sanjay Yadav, the Tamil Nadu allrounder, and Mayank Markande, their old friend?

As for Super Giants, there haven’t been as many missteps. They are pretty much in contention for the playoffs, with four wins from seven games. They ran into a red-hot Faf du Plessis in their last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, but prior to that, they had polished off Mumbai at the Brabourne Stadium.
Their bowling ticks most boxes, but there are some concerns around the middle order. Is Manish Pandey the right candidate at No.3? Should one of Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder bat up the order?

Mumbai Indians: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Dewald Brevis, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Tilak Varma, 6 Kieron Pollard/Tim David, 7 Hrithik Shokeen/Mayank Markande, 8 Jaydev Unadkat, 9 Daniel Sams, 10 Riley Meredith, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Lucknow Super Giants: 1 KL Rahul (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Krunal Pandya, 6 Ayush Badoni, 7 Marcus Stoinis 8 Jason Holder, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Ravi Bishnoi

Mumbai could keep Bumrah away from Rahul, and perhaps hold him back for the middle and end overs. Maybe throw the new ball to Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith, and hope they get lucky? It has been that kind of a season for Mumbai.


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