MI v DD: Rohit Sharma & Co aim to reclaim top-four slot

Capitulating on Friday night to Kings XI Punjab, which thereby passed the wooden spoon to the Rising Pune Supergiants, should set the Rohit Sharma-led squad thinking.

The reigning champion will also have to contend with the rousing form of the Delhi triumvirate comprising Quinton de Kock, Rishab Pant and Sanju Samson, who between them scripted a seemingly easy win against the Sunrisers.   -  K. R. Deepak

Mumbai Indians will have to summon all its resources if it is to regain the top-four slot that it enjoyed until recently. Delhi Daredevils will be no pushover when they lock horns at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy Stadium on Sunday, given that the northern side brought the Sunrisers, soaring on a four-win high, down to earth on the latter’s home turf on Thursday.

Capitulating on Friday night to Kings XI Punjab, which thereby passed the wooden spoon to the Rising Pune Supergiants, should set the western squad thinking. One vital question before it would be whether Martin Guptill should be included in place of Tim Southee or Mitchell McClenaghan. “We’ve to think about it,” Rohit Sharma said. Since the seamers had done consistently well, even restricting RCB to 151, there was reluctance about replacements.

So would Mumbai bat first again after the setback to Punjab when doing so? “Whatever decision we make, it has to be in the best interest of the team and we should be comfortable doing it,” countered the Mumbai captain. Whether his team relied excessively on his batting, the talented opener drew attention to contributions from Ambati Rayudu, Nitish Rana, Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler.

The reigning champion will also have to contend with the rousing form of the Delhi triumvirate comprising Quinton de Kock, Rishab Pant and Sanju Samson, who between them scripted a seemingly easy win against the Sunrisers. Before its evening workout, Nathan Coulter Nile gave signs of the Delhi side’s pre-match mindset.

Asked how the squad kept its game-on mode consistently, he said the players kept themselves adaptable, flexible and practised a lot. The recent resurgence in its showing he attributed to the think-tank consisting of Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton.

He was effusive in his praise of Zaheer Khan. “As a captain, he has an amazing cricket brain especially in the fields he sets. I have picked up quite a few things from him myself as regards to placements.” Whether the skipper would take the field, Nile said he was progressing and a call would be taken tomorrow.

How different was the dressing room atmosphere? It seemed quite chilled out. “We went surfing this morning to Rushikonda while others went for golf,” the speedster said. About takeaways from the IPL, he said there was nothing formulaic. “Everything goes with the flow and there’s always an exchange of ideas,” he added.

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