Mumbai Indians will look to salvage their battered reputation

Sachin Tendulkar_3.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Their title defence having ended early with a whimper, Mumbai Indians would look to salvage some of their battered reputation with at least a win when they take on Sydney Sixers in an inconsequential Group B match of the Champions League Twenty20 here on Monday.

Mumbai Indians came into the tournament as one of the favourites with a star-studded squad but they have failed to live up to their reputation, losing two matches and one game being abandoned due to rain.

Group toppers Sydney Sixers, along with Highveld Lions, have cashed in onto the disappointing show by Mumbai and the other IPL team in the group, Chennai Super Kings to qualify for the semifinals with three wins on the trot.

Mumbai Indians lost their opening match to Highveld Lions by eight wickets before their next tie against Yorkshire was washed out. They once again failed to re-group and went down to Chennai Super Kings by a narrow six-run margin last night.

The Harbhajan Singh-led side would look to end the tournament on a high but with the form their Monday's opponents are in, it won't be easy for them to do that and they will have to play out of their skins.

Mumbai have performed reasonably well with the bat, having posted almost identical scores (157 and 156) in the first two matches against Lions and Yorkshire respectively before scoring 167 for seven while chasing 174 against Chennai Super Kings.

While West Indian Dwayne Bravo has managed to get some runs up the order, Mumbai have been hugely let down by Sachin Tendulkar's lack of form as the veteran batsman could manage only 16, 7 and 2 from the three matches he had played so far.

Mumbai's batting unit revolves around Tendulkar and he will have to come up with a big score tomorrow to help his team put enough runs on board against a strong Australian unit.

The Indian outfit would also hope that the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard, who have all shown their potential in one match or the other in the tournament so far, stand up together and lend some solidity to the middle-order.

MI's bowling unit, with the exception of pacer Lasith Malinga, has completely looked off-colour and if Mumbai want to have any chance of registering a face-saving win tomorrow, the bowlers will have to fire in unison.

Sydney Sixers, meanwhile, would need to guard against complacency if they want to maintain their winning momentum going into the last four stage.

Sixers have looked formidable in the tournament so far and with the presence of Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, Micheal Lumb in their ranks, the side possesses a strong batting line-up.

Their main strength, however, remains the bowling which saw them restricting Yorkshire to a meagre 96. They then allowed Lions to score a modest 137 for nine.

Both Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have been among the wickets and with all-rounder Moises Henriques and experienced Watson also coming good with the ball, the team has the arsenal to tame any side in the tournament.

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