Cape Town: The massive eight-wicket loss in their tournament opener has not been an ideal start for defending champions Mumbai Indians and they would look to make amends when they take on Yorkshire in their crucial Champions League Twenty20 match here on Thursday. With both Mumbai and Yorkshire suffering defeats in their opening Group B matches, Thursday's tie is a must-win game for both the sides to keep their semi-final chances alive.
There may be a striking similarity between the two teams as far loss and position in the points table are concerned, but MI would certainly start as favourites against the English outfit owing to their more experienced batting line-up, which runs quite deep. In fact, Mumbai batted reasonably well in their opening game against Highveld Lions. It was actually their bowling department that had let the team down with the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha leaking too many runs.
A good start by Sachin Tendulkar along with either Dwayne Smith or Richard Levi is what Mumbai would be banking on. Tendulkar though got a start in the last match, scoring 16 off 24 balls, but he could not carry on the momentum. And come on Thursday he will be keen on doing well as his performance will have a bearing on the team's fortune in the tournament.
For the 39-year-old senior batsman, it will also be a chance to prove his detractors wrong after he was bowled thrice during the Test series against New Zealand at home and also in the previous match against Lions. Among others Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik are expected to lend solidity to the middle-order, while Kieron Pollard, with his big-hitting prowess, steady seam-up stuff and electric fielding, will be a crowd puller.
MI's bowling, however, failed to deliver the goods in the last match despite pace duo of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson turning out to be pretty economical. To MI's liking the wicket here may assist bowlers unlike Johannesburg. The conditions here are expected to be more helpful for both the pacers as well as spinners. Harbhajan did not have a good start to the tournament as he gave away as many as 36 runs from his four overs, taking just one wicket. And the feisty off-spinner would be keen to prove that his fine performance in the recently-concluded ICC World Twenty20 wasn't a mere flash in the pan.
Against an inexperienced Yorkshire batting line-up, it would be a great opportunity for Harbhajan to strengthen his case before the Test team selection. Malinga, who has been instrumental in many Mumbai wins over the past few years, will also be eyeing to produce another deadly performance for his side. On the other hand, Yorkshire, which though managed to impress during their qualifying campaign by winning both the matches to sail into the main draw, came a cropper against Sydney Sixers in their opener.
Yorkshire could post only 96 for nine in 20 overs before Sixers chased down the paltry target with 67 balls to spare. Yorskshire would be desperately looking towards its openers - Andrew Gale and Phil Jaques - to provide a solid start. Yorkshire's middle-order batsmen, especially Joe Root and Gary Ballance have shown glimpses of their potential during the qualifiers and come on Thursday the team would want them to fire in unison against Malinga and Co.
Yorkshire's bowling attack, spearheaded by veteran Ryan Sidebottom, looked impressive in the qualifiers but they had hardly anything to defend against Sydney the other day.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Harbhajan Singh (capt), 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Lasith Malinga, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Dhawal Kulkarni.
Yorkshire: 1 Andrew Gale (c), 2 Moin Ashraf, 3 Azeem Rafiq, 4 Gary Ballance, 5 Dan Hodgson, 6 Phil Jaques, 7 David Miller, 8 Steven Patterson, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Joe Root, 11 Ryan Sidebottom.