IPL 2018: Struggling Mumbai desperate for revival against RCB

Against a power-packed RCB side – with the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers having already found form – skipper Rohit Sharma leading from the front will be crucial to Mumbai opening its points tally.

The Mumbai Indians captain finds himself on a sticky wicket at the start of IPL.   -  AP

Defending champion Mumbai Indians has had a lacklustre start to its IPL campaign this year. Three nail-biting losses in as many outings have resigned it to the bottom of the pile.

So it wasn't surprising to see Sachin Tendulkar, the MI mentor, actively involved during the team's training on the eve of its high-voltage clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Tendulkar, along with head-coach Mahela Jayawardene, had an intense discussion with captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the nets.

 

MI, despite a favourable show by a few of its uncapped players, has struggled to leave a mark; Sharma and Pandya proving to be its Achilles Heel.

A lack of a match-winning performance  – the 24-year-old missed a game owing to an ankle injury he suffered during the tournament-opener – can be attributed to Pandya's dodgy fitness, but MI will be hoping that Sharma gets into his groove after a relatively timid start.

 

The third-highest run-getter in IPL history has a meagre 44 runs from three innings so far. But more than Sharma's form, it's his batting position that has left the host in a quandary.

After opening the innings in the first two matches, Sharma moved to No. 4, a position he has batted at frequently ever since taking over the reins of the team mid-way through IPL 2013.

MI vs RCB Star Wars: Rohit Sharma vs Virat Kohli

Suryakumar Yadav's fruitful stint with Caribbean Evin Lewis at the top of the order - the duo opened against Delhi Daredevils at Wankhede on Saturday - means Sharma may prefer sticking to the middle-order. The 30-year-old will also have the onus of seeing off RCB leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.

Against a power-packed RCB side – with the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers having already found form – Sharma leading from the front will be crucial to Mumbai opening its points tally.