IPL2014: 36th match – Sunrisers Hyderabad v Mumbai Indians, May 12, 2014

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Hours before the game between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils dug themselves into a hole by keeping their batsmen down the order for too long. Against a team ranked No. 2 on the points table, Mumbai Indians played to a similar strategy - Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson all came in in the second half of the innings - and they were restricted to 157.

Mumbai retained Kieron Pollard and paid big money for Corey Anderson but with time running out in their campaign, they may want to look at giving both batsmen more time in the middle. A strong top order last season meant Mumbai played Pollard at No. 5, but this season the signs are he needs to be pushed up. Mumbai are one of only two teams - the other being Daredevils - to not have at least one fifty-plus opening partnership, and both these teams are stuck at the bottom of the table.

Heavily reliant on their bowling, Sunrisers have rediscovered some of the form that took them to the play-offs in IPL 2013. The match against Mumbai is the first of four home games for them, and they will be keen to emulate their stellar record at Uppal last season, where they won seven out of eight games. Apart from a 200+ score by Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers didn't concede 150+ at home last year and they will be eager to establish that kind of dominance this time too.

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IPL2014: 33rd match – Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings, May 10, 2014

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They may be at opposite ends of the points table but Mumbai Indians will go into Saturday's match against Chennai Super Kings aware of one record - they are the team to have defeated Super Kings the most number of times in the IPL, nine out of 16 encounters. In Mumbai, their IPL record against Super Kings stands 5-0. To top that off, Mumbai have won 10 successive IPL games in Mumbai.

While they would have come as immense confidence boosters, Mumbai's last two wins at home have only underlined how heavily reliant the batting is on Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. The focus, though, will be on Mumbai's bowlers, fresh off having reined in Royal Challengers Bangalore. Harbhajan Singh had been economical through this tournament, but against Chris Gayle and co, he stepped up as the bowling leader Mumbai needed in the absence of Zaheer Khan. He and Lasith Malinga will have to take charge again - Praveen Kumar comes into the IPL with little cricket in recent months, and Jasprit Bumrah will be playing his first match against the formidable Super Kings.

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IPL2014: 27th match – Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore, May 6, 2014

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In their last meeting in Dubai, Royal Challengers Bangalore stomped all over an unsure Mumbai Indians, restricting the latter to 115 and then chasing it down with seven wickets to spare, despite being reduced to 17 for 3.

Both teams will meet on Tuesday at the Wankhede with similar wins in their previous games, wins that could easily have turned into defeats had it not been for individual performances and the teams are similar on many other counts, too. Mumbai and Royal Challengers have powerful line-ups on paper, but that potential has been inconsistent on the field, save for the odd knocks from their stars.

Bowlers from both sides have, given the opportunity, done well but have also found themselves defending a few sub-par totals. Royal Challengers bowlers, however, have had a better run than Mumbai, with the presence of genuine quicks in Mitchell Starc and Varun Aaron and a legspinner in Yuzvendra Chahal.

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IPL2014: 22nd match – Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab, 3 May, 2014

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There's nothing like the comfort of home venues, specially for IPL teams, and Saturday's match against Kings XI Punjab may just be the fresh start Mumbai Indians are looking for. They were unbeaten in all home games last season and will hope they can keep the table-toppers from ruining their winning streak at the Wankhede.

Mumbai have some of the biggest names in cricket as part of their think-tank, but their squad selections have been baffling.  An Indian batsman would have been ideal for the side, but if they opt for Simmons, it would mean that either Ben Dunk or Corey Anderson would have to be left out.

Compare this with Kings XI who have found balance in the squad early on. Their bowling was profligate at the start of the tournament but on pitches that were wearing down, they stepped up and did well on the days the batting failed. Indian grounds, with their flat tracks and short boundaries, will be a different challenge for them.

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IPL2014: 21st match – Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders, 2 May, 2014

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Losing a match on the boundary count after the scores are tied even in the Super Over can be immensely disappointing. Especially when you needed 16 going into the last two overs of your chase with six wickets in hand. Five days before going down in this manner to Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders were riding the opposite extreme against Royal Challengers Bangalore, who needed 29 off 26 with eight wickets remaining but were stopped short by two runs. As their coach Trevor Bayliss put it, Knight Riders have seen the "highs and lows" of the T20 format in these two games.

The UAE was almost exclusively low for Gautam Gambhir, but he broke his horror run of 0, 0, 0 & 1 by making 45 against Royals. While he did consume 44 deliveries, his knock has to be a big positive for Knight Riders just as the IPL shifts back to India. Gambhir and his side have had just two days to recover from that Super Over, and also shift base from the UAE to Ranchi.

Knight Riders will not have fond memories of Ranchi. The last time they played here, Yusuf Pathan was given out for obstructing the field against Pune Warriors in a close defeat that effectively ended the 2012 defending champions' chances in their 2013 campaign.

Their opponents, Chennai Super Kings, are in familiar territory close to the top of the table with four wins from five games. Only Glenn Maxwell has been able to down them so far. This is the first time they will be playing an IPL match in their captain's hometown. Ranchi has already voted in the ongoing federal election; it has to be seen what the turnout is with the local favourite on show.

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IPL2014: 20th match – Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad, April 30, 2014

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Mumbai Indians have had running problems with the opening partnership in several seasons, and this season has been no different. By their fourth game, they realised that the man who has reinvented himself successfully as a limited-overs opener for India is also an option at the top of their order. Before that, Rohit Sharma was coming in with too much to do after the pair of Michael Hussey and Aditya Tare had failed to provide the kind of starts their side needed.

With fewer games per side this season, Mumbai Indians cannot really afford to keep piling up the losses. Sunrisers Hyderabad are in only a slightly better position with one victory. Their batting looked top-heavy coming into the season, and the fears have come true so far, with a thin middle order unable to step up when the powerful batsmen do not fire upfront. At least the strengths and weaknesses are clearer in Sunrisers' case. Mumbai Indians, as has been the case in the past too, seem to be misfiring without any standout reason.

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