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'Final' chance for Mumbai Indians to address away woes

Last updated on: May 23, 2013 09:12 IST

'Final' chance for Mumbai Indians to address away woes

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Bikash Mohapatra

The Rohit Sharma-led side won just two of its eight away fixtures in the league stage, and lost the first play-off to Chennai Super Kings at the Ferozshah Kotla. One more 'away' failure will put an end to their title aspirations.

Mumbai Indians was one of the most in-form sides in the league stage of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League.

A haul of eight wins in eight homes games at the Wankhede stadium helped them finish second in the nine-team league and establish their title credentials.

However, poor form on the road might just be a major stumbling block to that ambition.

Tuesday's heavy defeat against Chennai Super Kings, at the Ferozshah Kotla, not only robbed the high-profile team of a direct place in the final but yet again reiterated their woeful away form.

Three days before falling 48 runs short of Chennai's target (192), Mumbai suffered a 50-run thrashing at the hands of Kings XI Punjab at Dharamsala in their last league game.



Image: Mumbai Indians players celebrate
Photographs: BCCI

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'I'm sure we can do well outside as well'

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In fact, the Rohit Sharma-led side won just two of its nine away fixtures, one of them, against eighth-placed Pune Warriors, more or less an expected result.

Compare this number to that of finalists Chennai, the latter having won on six occasions on the road, and it is anything but flattering.

"It is not just the home conditions," said Sharma, when asked to explain his side's woeful away record.

"Of course, we have been brilliant at home, and winning eight matches (at Wankhede) is a huge thing and happened for the first time, but I am sure we can do well outside as well," he explained, adding, "We have done it in the past and we can do it now also."

While many might argue in a format like T20, playing away is hardly a disadvantage but results point out to the fact that the teams which do well out of their comfort zone, benefit the most in the long run.


Image: Rohit Sharma
Photographs: BCCI
Tags: Chennai , Sharma , T20

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'We just have to play to our strengths'

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In any case, most of the teams do well in home conditions, and expectedly so. But it is wins in the crucial away games that benefit the teams in the long run.

The fact that the two qualifiers, the eliminator and the final, are being held at Delhi's Kotla and Kolkata's Eden Gardens respectively, gives none of the four teams in the fray any home advantage – Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders never made the cut – it is the side that adapts well that goes on to win, as Chennai proved on Tuesday.

For Mumbai Indians to justify their tag as one of the favourites for the title, they need to address their away woes with immediate effect. One further mistake and that will mark the end of their campaign. Their captain albeit remained confident of his team's chances.

"We have the potential to play anywhere and beat anyone," said Sharma.

"We just have to play to our strengths," he added.


Image: Mumbai Indians players celebrate
Photographs: BCCI

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'We have always done well at the Eden'

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The good thing for Mumbai Indians is, despite the heavy defeat at Kotla, they get another shot at reaching the final.

They play Rajasthan Royals, who beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator, in the second play-off.

The bad thing is both, that match, as well as final (in case they make it) will be played at the Eden Gardens, another away venue.

"We have always done well at the Eden and I hope it continues," said Sharma, the confidence in his tenor in tact.


Image: Rohit Sharma
Photographs: BCCI

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