Sharma hopes to find form and extend MI's winning run

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, in the four games in IPL 10 so far, has made just nine runs. Against Gujarat Lions, he will hope to bat well and continue his team's three-game winning streak.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma (left) with Jasprit Bumrah during the team's practice session.   -  Vivek Bendre

Rohit Sharma’s batting woes continue to torment him and the two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) winner Mumbai Indians (MI).  In this season, he has looked all at sea against the spinners, especially of the wrist-spinning variety. He has been bowled twice and trapped twice for lbw, although he got a rough deal from the umpire against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Wankhede Stadium. 

Sharma was chafed at umpire C. K. Nandan after he affirmed Sunil Narine's lbw appeal. For that, he was reprimanded by the match referee. Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan and Samuel Badree are the others who dismissed the MI skipper.

In spite of Sharma struggling to put bat to ball, MI, after suffering a seven-wicket defeat against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) ten days ago, has strung three straight wins to top the points table. Sharma, so far in the tournament, has scored nine off 19 balls.

The hectic nature of the league — with two matches scheduled over three days sometimes — has hardly given Sharma to mull over and quickly find ways to put an end to the nightmarish experience of getting beaten in the air and off the pitch.

Sharma has scored heavily for MI as an opener and at No. 3, but it is at No. 4 where he has batted on 54 occasions and made 1542 runs. So, it’s highly unlikely that Sharma would swap positions with Jos Buttler in the third home match against Gujarat Lions (GL) on Sunday.

Sharma’s batting troubles has seen him drop to ninth in the MI batting averages list, behind Nitesh Rana, Kieron Pollard, Parthiv Patel, Krunal Pandya, Buttler, Hardik Pandya and the injured Ambati Rayudu. MI returned home on Saturday after the Pollard-piloted victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and it's in search of a first win against the Lions.

GL notched its first win in three matches on Friday at Rajkot’s Khanderi village stadium with openers Dwayne Smith (47) and Brendon McCullum (49) going after the RPS bowlers and raise 94 off 53 balls. Skipper Suresh Raina then scored an unbeaten 22-ball 35 to take his team to victory with 12 balls to spare. Earlier, his seamer Andrew Tye made a memorable IPL debut, picking up 5 for 17 that included a hat-trick. 

The Lions would be confident that it has not lost to MI and because it easily chased RPS's target of 172.

Both teams skipped practice and preferred to strategise in their hotel rooms on Saturday. The MI captain, Sharma, may not be overly anxious about his dismal run, nonetheless he might brainstorm with head coach Mahela Jayawardene.