It’s time to BELI3VE

Life doesn’t always afford one second chances. However, after our loss to the Rising Pune Supergiant on Tuesday, the Indian Premier League has given us a lifeline to remain in this tournament. By virtue of ending up first on the ladder, we live to fight another day. The match will be contested against one of either Kolkata Knight Riders or last season’s victors, Sunrisers Hyderabad. What isn’t in doubt is that our boys will be up for the fight.

What will hearten the boys will be the fact that we’ve done this once before. In 2013, we qualified second on the ladder, which meant we came up against Chennai Super Kings in the First Qualifier. We unfortunately lost that match and hence played the Rajasthan Royals in the Second Qualifier. We came out all guns blazing against Rajasthan Royals winning the game, and subsequently the Final against Chennai Super Kings to win our first IPL tournament.

The above playoff system has been in effect since 2011 IPL season. In that time, let’s look at the progress of those teams who have lost the first qualifying final: -

Season Vanquished 1st Q Team 2nd Qualifier Result Final Result
2011 Royal Challengers Bangalore Won vs Mumbai Indians Lost vs Chennai Super Kings
2012 Delhi Daredevils Lost vs Chennai Super Kings N/A
2013 Mumbai Indians Won vs Rajasthan Royals Won vs Chennai Super Kings
2014 Kings XI Punjab Won vs Chennai Super Kings Lost vs Kolkata Knight Riders
2015 Chennai Super Kings Won vs Royal Challengers Bangalore Lost vs Mumbai Indians
2016 Gujarat Lions Lost vs Sunrisers Hyderabad N/A

Four of the 6 vanquished teams in the First Qualifier picked themselves up and dusted themselves off by winning the Second Qualifier. As can be seen above, Mumbai Indians is the only team to have won the tournament despite losing the First Qualifier. What will give the fans and team extra heart is the fact that 6 of the current squad (Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga) were all playing that fateful game against the Rajasthan Royals: -

All 6 wickets that fell that evening were taken by Harbhajan (3), Pollard (2) and Malinga (1). When it comes to choosing between batting first or chasing in these matches, there really isn’t much to differentiate either: 3 teams have won chasing and batting first, apiece. However, we managed to win against Rajasthan whilst chasing and the last two such matches have been won after the side bowled first. So, let’s have a look at our potential opponents - Sunrisers Hyderabad & Kolkata Knight Riders. Let’s firstly compare our record against them across seasons and this season in particular: -

Vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Overall Record Won 5, Lost 5 (Win Rate: 50%) Won 15, Lost 5 (Win Rate: 75%)
IPL 2017 Record Won 1, Lost 1 (Win Rate: 50%) Won 2, Lost 0 (Win Rate: 100%)

Thus, in terms of statistics, the Kolkata Knight Riders have struggled against us in the past. The overall record between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians is deadlocked at 5-5, though. Now, which Mumbai Indians players have performed against both opponents? Let’s have a look at KKR first: -

Top MI batsmen v KKR (IPL career)
Player Runs Avg. S/R 50+
Rohit 684 48.85 138.74 5
Parthiv 288 24.00 106.67 -
Ambati 258 25.80 141.75 1
Top MI bowlers v KKR (IPL career)
Player Wkts. Avg. Econ. 4+ wkt
Vinay Kumar 19 16.15 7.00 -
Malinga 16 21.87 6.66 1
Johnson 12 19.75 7.85 -

Rohit has been a run machine against the Knight Riders. His run aggregate is second only to Suresh Raina’s 701 and his highest IPL score (indeed, his highest Twenty20 score) was scored against them. As an aside, our coach also liked to bat against the Knight Riders too, averaging a whopping 56.37 with a best of 110* in the IPL! Lasith Malinga has recorded the joint-fifth-best bowling figures against the Knight Riders, 4/23 in 2014, Whilst Vinay Kumar’s 19 wickets are the second-highest by any bowler against the Knight Riders in the IPL.

Now, a look at our boys against the Sunrisers Hyderabad -

Top MI batsmen v SRH (IPL career)
Player Runs Avg. S/R 50+
Pollard 224 44.80 144.77 2
Ambati 206 34.33 123.35 2
Rohit 169 24.14 134.20 1
Top MI bowlers v SRH (IPL career)
Player Wkts. Avg. Econ. 4+ wkt
Malinga 13 16.61 6.96 1
McClenaghan 9 19.44 7.44 -
Johnson 6 25.83 8.15 -

Kieron Pollard is our current leading run-scorer against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. His aggregate of 224 runs includes a 78 that is his highest IPL score. Also, 2 of his 12 IPL fifties have been scored against this team. Rayudu’s batting average of 34.33 is significantly better than his IPL average of 27.56: 2 of his 14 IPL fifties have come against the Sunrisers. Lasith Malinga has taken the most wickets by any bowler against the Sunrisers. His bowling average is also the third-best by any bowler against the Sunrisers, given a minimum 20 overs bowled against this franchise.

The match will be played at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, scene of one of Mumbai’s most stirring comebacks, after we had been reduced to 7/4 by a rampant Samuel Badree. We’ve got the players to do the job, we’ve got the fans to cheer them on, we’ve got the belief to carry us over the line. It doesn’t matter which opponent we will face on Friday; everyone knows we’ll be up for the fight!

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