Defending champions Mumbai Indians got off to a poor start in IPL 2016, losing to Rising Pune Supergiants in the opening game at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Saturday. Mumbai Indians' player Shreyas Gopal admitted that their performance was below par, but said they are looking forward to the challenge against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, Wednesday.
"We had a disappointing start to be honest but winning & losing are part of the game. We're looking forward to taking this up as a challenge and will try to bounce back by putting our plans in place & executing them to the best of our ability," Mumbai Indians official website quoted Gopal as saying.
The Mumbai Indians are a strong unit, with some quality players in their squad. Players such as Rohit Sharma, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard and Harbhajan Singh can win games on their own, but these players failed as a unit against RPS. It was primarily their batsmen, who lost their wickets cheaply, leading to their downfall.
The Rohit-led side only scored 121 runs, with Harbhajan top-scoring with 30-ball 45. Gopal praised Harbhajan for his batting efforts when the top order fell like nine pins.
"He's played crucial innings on numerous occasions before for Mumbai Indians and his country. This one was a champion innings to be honest, especially in that situation where we lost the top order; he gave us something to fight for. I know we lost the game but without that innings, I don't think we had any chance and he gave us that chance in the game. He played a beautiful innings and it came at a very crucial time," Gopal said.
But when Mumbai Indians set their foot at the iconic stadium for the game Wednesday, they cannot rely on some of their star players alone. All the eleven players on the field need to deliver for the Mumbai Indians, who will be keen to get their first points on the board.
With IPL 2016 comprising quality teams, all franchises need to play consistent cricket, and provide a base for the latter stages of the tournament, playing quality cricket initially.
KKR, on the contrary, has got off to a brilliant start. They defeated Delhi Daredevils by nine wickets in their opening game, and hence they are a confident unit. However, they are also aware of the threat Mumbai Indians bring to the table in Kolkata, and an entertaining game is expected at Eden Gardens.