Sunday, May 19, 2024

MI, Lucknow look to end dismal IPL campaigns with victory


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Mumbai, May 16: Out of reckoning from the IPL playoffs, Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants will look to end their campaign on a winning note when they clash at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.
While Mumbai Indians were knocked out of the playoffs race long ago, Lucknow Super Giant’s chances of making the last-four are extremely bleak even if they win their last IPL game here by a huge margin.
Three consecutive defeats have not only denied LSG crucial points, they have also battered their net run rate.
A 98-run loss to KKR was followed by a 10-wicket hammering by Sunrisers Hyderabad with a 19-run defeat to Delhi Capitals all but ending their chances of getting into the playoffs after making the final-four in the previous edition.
The seventh-placed LSG’s NRR of -0.787 will not improve significantly for them to get back into contention, as Royal Challengers Bengaluru, at No. 6, are much better placed with a NRR of 0.387.
Five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians were the first team to be knocked out of the race for the playoffs this year as they endured a horror first season under new skipper Hardik Pandya.
With only four wins from 13 matches so far, Mumbai Indians can at best finish with 10 points if they win on Friday, something that can possibly help them avoid a last-place finish.
For Mumbai Indians, a pre-season change of leadership, with Pandya replacing Rohit Sharma as captain, set off angry reactions from fans, which seem to have marred their campaign to a large extent.
As a team, MI failed to get behind their captain. While their batting failed collectively, Jasprit Bumrah’s individual brilliance with the ball (20 wickets in 13 matches), could not inspire the other bowlers to come together.
The focus of the match would be on the likes of T20 World Cup-bound players such as Pandya, Rohit Sharma, Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav given that they would be pivotal to India’s hopes of bringing back the elusive trophy.
Rohit is enduring a horror run with the bat with his best being 19 in the last six outings for MI, while Pandya too has not been able to inspire confidence in his all-round role.
Suryakumar, though, has regained confidence with a strong showing in the IPL following three fifties and a century.
For LSG, the lack of firepower and failure to capitalise on key moments has led to their plight even though skipper KL Rahul has had a successful run with the bat, scoring three half-centuries in his 465 runs this season at an average of 136.36.
His strike rate, however, remained a topic of debate throughout even as the other batters failed to pull their weight.
While Nicholas Pooran (424 runs at 168.92) provided the late impetus, the collective failure of LSG’s bowlers has also remained an area of concern.
As both teams prepare to conclude their IPL campaigns, Friday’s clash at the Wankhede Stadium offers a chance for redemption and pride.
Match starts at 7.30 PM. (PTI)


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