IPL 2018: Mumbai Indians in search of home comfort

The defending champion seeks to win its third match at the Wankhede Stadium this season when it takes on Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday.

Mumbai Indians is yet to establish Wankhede as its fortress this season.   -  Vivek Bendre

While the Kings XI Punjab outfit, demoralised from its loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday and jaded from its travel from Indore to Pune, took rest on Tuesday, Mumbai Indians was involved in an intense training session ahead of its last Indian Premier League (IPL ) home game.

Star Wars: Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab

As is the case more often than not towards the end stage of the round-robin league, Rohit Sharma’s boys find themselves in a familiar territory. Languishing in the lower half of the table for a majority part of the league stage, Mumbai Indians has to win its two remaining matches and hope for other results to fall its way to make it to the playoffs.

 

One of the main reasons for its topsy-turvy campaign this time around has been the defending champion’s form at home. The Wankhede has conventionally been a fortress for Mumbai Indians but this time around, Sharma’s knights have struggled at home. Of the first six games, the Mumbai Indians has won just two games.

Mumbai Indians at home in triumphant seasons:

2013

P: 8

W: 8

L: 0

2015

P: 7

W: 4

L: 3

2017

P: 8

W: 5

L: 3

In its previous three victorious campaigns, the least number of matches Mumbai Indians had won was four. Aditya Tare, the back-up wicket-keeper, had no qualms in admitting the problem. “We have not been up to the mark at Wankhede. Usually we are a very tough team to beat at Wankhede,” Tare said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, this has not been the case this season. The mood is pretty good. The picture is quite clear, you win two games and anything can happen.”

 

Demoralising loss

Just like Mumbai Indians, the visiting team also finds itself in a spot of bother. Despite starting the season on a roll, the Kings XI Punjab campaign has fizzled out in the latter stages. R. Ashwin-led team enters Wednesday's match having lost five of its last six matches. The most demoralising of all those losses was on Monday when Kings XI was bowled out for a paltry 88 in the 16th over and the Royal Challengers Bangalore opening pair hunted down the target in 8.1 overs.

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Having reached its nadir, Kings XI would be hoping to turn the tide on Wednesday. Besides banking on in-form opener K. L. Rahul to sizzle along with veteran Chris Gayle, it would be hoping for mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman to recover from his wrist injury.

Aditya Tare, Mumbai Indians player:
  • It’s an important stage for us. We know if we win the next two games we will make it. We have been in this situation before, we want to be fearless, we want to be positive, that’s what the thinking is.