The Mumbai Indians made a pretty strong comeback, from their opening day defeat to the Lahore Lions, by cruising past the Southern Express on Sunday, a win which basically put qualification into the main draw of the Champions League T20 2014 in their own hands.
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Victory -- how big a victory depends on how the Southern Express vs Lahore Lions match goes earlier in the day -- against the Northern Knights on Tuesday night will put them into the next round, most probably along with the side from New Zealand.
Both teams are in prime position to qualify to the main draw of the CLT20 2014, with net run rate, at the moment, very much in their favour. The Northern Knights have already picked up two victories in two matches and at a net run rate of +2.684, they are near uncatchable.
The Mumbai Indians currently lie second in the table on four points from two matches, the same as the Lahore Lions, but the IPL side do have a much superior net run rate of +0.498 to the Pakistani team's -1.496. The Southern Express also still stand a slim chance of qualifying, but they will need to beat the Lahore Lions in their earlier match convincingly and then hope the Mumbai Indians suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of the Northern Knights.
That does look unlikely, at the moment, especially considering the manner in which the Mumbai Indians despatched the Southern Express. The main reason behind the big nine-wicket victory over the Sri Lankan side was the openers – Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons, who put on a 139-run partnership in just a little over 14 overs to make a chase of 162 look ridiculously easy.
"We pretty much played our own games," Hussey told CLT20's official website. "Lendl is a naturally aggressive sort of player and then I just try and float in between. Sometimes be aggressive, sometimes if we needed to just work the singles.
"We talked a lot out there. There was good communication. We sort of picked our bowlers, when we could go and when we could just give the strike to the other player. It changed throughout the partnership."
Getting a win over the Northern Knights, though, won't be easy as the New Zealand side have looked formidable in their first two matches. "It is going to be a great match," added Hussey. "They are a fantastic team who are playing confident cricket and that's important in T20.
"We need to win to go through to the next round. So it is going to be a cracker of a game and I am looking forward to it."