Neither the Mumbai Indians nor Yorkshire has a single point in this T20 Champions League cricket tournament and a defeat here will effectively end all hopes of a semi-final slot (4.30pm BST, Thursday).
Yorkshire look particularly vulnerable with a weakened batting line up which was comfortably exposed by Sydney on Tuesday. Mumbai were almost as disappointing in losing their opening match to the Lions.
Yorkshire battled hard to qualify for the T20 Champions League but an injury to Jonny Bairstow and the unavailability of England team mate Tim Bresnan was always going to hamper the squad’s chances. South Africa’s David Miller was brought in to bolster the side but after he was recalled into domestic cricket, the batting looked especially weak. This is what the bookies make of it:
As they head into this game, Yorkshire somehow have to rediscover some form or the Indians will despatch them as quickly as the Sydney Sixers. The latter chased down a poor total of 96 and won by nine wickets and eleven overs to spare.
Andrew Gale is a key player and while he is constantly ranked as the favourite in all the top batsman markets, the skipper continues to fail at the top of the order. Gale needs to lead by example while Joe Root, who has been called into England’s squad for the tour of India, needs to show why he has made such a breakthrough.
Runs are also needed from Phil Jacques, Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance because Adil Rashid may be a useful batsman but he is coming in too high at number six.
When Mumbai made 157-6 in their match against the Lions, several batsmen got into the twenties but couldn’t convert those starts into game winning scores. Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma will all need greater concentration to deal with Yorkshire’s admittedly weaker attack.
Indian fans will be looking to Tendulkar to prove that he can still make telling contributions at this level but the key batsmen in the Mumbai side are the West Indian pair of Pollard and Smith. Both men can be devastating hitters who can take the match away from opponents very quickly and while Smith opens the batting, it may be worth moving Pollard up the order from his usual position of number five.
Both Smith and Pollard are useful with the ball too although they may have been underused against the Lions. The vital man in the attack will be Lasith Malinga once again although Harbhajan Singh needs to bowl better than he did in taking 1-36 last time out.
Yorkshire’s bowling follows the same pattern in every match. They open with the part time off spin of Joe Root and then the same bowlers bowl the same overs during the innings. This rarely, if ever changes but maybe it is time to be more flexible.
Mumbai’s chief issue could be one of complacency and having seen Yorkshire beaten so easily by Sydney on Tuesday, they may feel that a four point victory is already guaranteed. For Andrew Gale’s side, they are unlikely to perform as badly again but this should still result in a comfortable win for the Indians.