IPL 10:Lynn-tastic threat looms large over MI

If Lynn and Gambhir continue their antics at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Indians would be hard-pressed to open its points tally.

Kolkata Knight Riders scripted a world record in T20 cricket when it chased down 184 without losing a single wicket against Gujarat Lions on Friday.   -  Sportzpics

As Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Gujarat Lions (GL) boarded a flight from Rajkot on Saturday afternoon, it wasn't surprising to see that the Knight Riders' was the chirpier lot. While the pall of Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir's onslaught didn't make it a memorable journey halfway to Lions’ next stop in Hyderabad, the Knight Riders revelled in their openers' record-breaking spree.

Read: Dropping Bhajji was a tactical move, says Jayawardene

While the king of Friday night, Lynn, preferred to rest along with most of his overseas journeymen during the hour-long flight, captain Gambhir joined the younger lot in a game of cards. The game of blackjack had to be abruptly halted with the descend towards Mumbai — the Knight Riders' next stop early on in the Indian Premier League (IPL) bandwagon — and Gambhir's gunners would be hoping to continue their near-perfect start against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Sunday night.

Barring a couple of missed opportunities in the field, it was a near-perfect star to the Knight Riders campaign. The spinners came to the front and the calculated gamble of promoting to Lynn to the top of the batting order worked wonders. The coaching staff, consisting of head coach Jacques Kallis, assistant coaches Simon Katich and L. Balaji and performance analyst A.R. Srikkanth, suggested the move which was wholeheartedly backed by Gambhir. If Lynn and Gambhir continue their antics at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Indians would be hard-pressed to open its points tally.

Malinga joins, Rayudu ruled out

Rohit Sharma's boys had a reason to rejoice and an injury concern ahead of the game. The Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga and newbie Asela Gunaratne joined the squad after finishing their national duties. Malinga's presence will boost MI's prospects of death bowling, which eventually resulted in its nail-biting loss in Pune on Thursday.

It would be interesting to see if Mumbai Indians draft Malinga into the eleven straight-away. If coach Mahela Jayawardene opts for it, it may result in Kiwi Tim Southee being benched after an expensive spell in Pune.

The reliable middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu, however, was sidelined after tearing his groin in the field in MI's season-opener. In fact, Rayudu would be unavailable at least for 10 days, thus increasing Mumbai Indians' middle-order concerns, which has haunted them right through the 2016 campaign.

In Rayudu's absence, the onus will be on captain Sharma to hold the innings together. Sharma could hardly contribute to his team's cause with the bat on his return to top-flight cricket after a prolonged injury lay-off. He couldn't ask for a better stage than the Wankhede to explode with the willow and make it a perfect weekend for the MI Paltan.

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