With their campaign stuttering due to continuous batting failures, the Mumbai Indians are hoping that Sachin Tendulkar comes back and inspires a turnaround when they take on a struggling Kings XI Punjab in their IPL match on Sunday.
The home team is hoping that Tendulkar, who has been on the sidelines after getting hit on his finger in the opening game on 4 April, returns to the opening slot and gives the top order a much-needed dose of stability.
Mumbai Indians paid the price of reckless batting against Delhi Daredevils as they managed just 92 runs, their second-lowest total in five seasons, to lose their last match comprehensively.
The MI batsmen have to get their act together against a visiting side that itself is placed at the bottom of the points table.
Tendulkar has started practising hard after missing the last four games and his presence, if it comes about, would certainly calm down the jangled nerves of the top order. Key MI batsmen -- Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu and Richard Levi -- have all been inconsistent while wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik has yet to make a mark.
The additional worry for MI is that paceman Lasith Malinga is unlikely to take the field for the second match in succession because of acute back pain. Whenever MI were in trouble, the team had lobbed the ball to the Sri Lankan sling-arm bowler and he had delivered.
In his absence, the team fielded Australian Clint Mckay without much success against the Daredevils, but the target for the visitors was too small for the bowlers to make any impression. Munaf Patel has bowled extremely well and is, in fact, the highest wicket taker (10 in four games) for MI this season. He is expected to have Rudra Pratap Singh as back-up in pace for the second game running.
Updated Date: Apr 21, 2012 11:30:53 IST