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IPL 2022: Mumbai Indians face a Brabourne challenge against Lucknow Super Giants

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Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) Struggling to put up their first points on the board after losing five matches in IPL 2022 so far, Mumbai Indians return to the Brabourne Stadium for a clash with Lucknow Super Giants after playing three consecutive matches in Pune.

The five-time champions had launched their IPL 2022 campaign at Brabourne Stadium with a four-wicket defeat to Delhi Capitals and after losing to Rajasthan Royals at the D.Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, suffered successive debacles against Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.

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Back at the same venue where they started their campaign, Mumbai can’t afford to lose many more matches as their chances of qualifying for the playoffs, already looking slim, will become even more difficult.

Though their batters have come good in patches, their bowling has failed to make an impression as Jasprit Bumrah has struggled for support from other pacers and the team has failed to stitch together a winning combination. They have not had good starts as openers Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma have not clicked together as skipper Rohit Sharma has not been his prolific self and is due for a big one soon.

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Youngster Tilak Varma has impressed so far with 157 runs from five innings and Suryakumar Yadav, who missed the first couple of matches, has scored 163 runs in three innings, but these are individual efforts and the team as a unit seems to be missing something.

Despite these struggles, Mumbai Indians’ senior batter Suryakumar Yadav on Friday said if they stick together and work hard, the results are bound to come.

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Yadav said the morale in the team is good as they know it is just a matter of time before things will improve and therefore there are no dropping shoulders or having a pessimistic outlook.

Asked what Mumbai Indians needed to do to become a champion side again, he said, “It is still a champion team. It’s not ‘used to be’. It is still a champion team and it will always be a champion team.

“It’s just a matter of a few games. The people who have joined in are going really, really well. I feel very happy for them, Dewald, Tilak. I feel the way they have taken responsibility since the first game, they’ve been really good. And I’m sure they’re going to make it really big,” Yadav said during a pre-match virtual press conference on Friday.

With a lot of matches yet to be played in IPL 2022, Yadav reiterated the need to stick together through the tough start.

“Wins and losses happen in cricket. But one thing we haven’t left is working hard and standing with each other. That is very important. That’s our team motto, and if we stick to it, things will automatically fall in place.”

He said that Mumbai Indians have been playing “good cricket” right from the first game, and if they follow the processes as they had done in the past was bound to yield results.

“I think we’re playing some good cricket from Game 1, and there’s no situation like panicking for a team like Mumbai Indians,” he said.

“We’ve been following good processes in the past few years and we’re just sticking to it. If we just keep doing it, we’ll eventually get our first win. We just have to keep working hard towards our goal together, which we are doing in practice sessions. That’s about it.”

Mumbai Indians have been through this sort of start before, in 2014. That year, they still qualified for the playoffs. That is one reason why the team does not seem short on motivation.

“This has happened before also, a long time back,” Yadav pointed out.

“It’s nothing new, so we’re just taking things very, very positively. Win or lose, it’s all part of the game. But I feel it’s all about hard work and quality sessions. The more time you spend with teammates, with management, and with family, it’s going to help the team win again and go forward. Everyone around is motivated already! I don’t need to push anyone. I play for Mumbai Indians, that self-motivation is always there.”

While Mumbai Indians are hoping for the spark to ignite, their opponent Lucknow Super Giants are sitting pretty in the fifth position in the 10-team table with six points from five matches. After starting with a defeat to Gujarat Titans, LSG have won three successive matches before Rajasthan Royals halted their victory march thanks to Shimron Hetmyer’s stupendous unbeaten 59 off 36 deliveries and Yuzvendra Chahal’s 4/41.

Facing a struggling Mumbai Indians in their next match, K.L Rahul’s Lucknow Super Giants will definitely fancy their chances of claiming all two points and remain in striking distance of the top-four spot.

–IANS

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