The Mumbai Indians will be under pressure to avoid losing two consecutive matches in the Champions League T20 (CLT20), but a win will be far from a foregone conclusion as they take on the in-form Otago Volts in Motera on Monday.
Mumbai Indians will be keen to open their CLT20 2013 account against the Otago Volts
MI fell to the Rajasthan Royals in the opening match of this year's CLT20 main draw, and after being thoroughly outplayed by Rahul Dravid and co, the IPL champions will be desperate to pick up their first win.
Otago have been in sparkling form, and are currently on a 13-match unbeaten streak, including winning all three games in the qualifiers.
In Brendon McCullum and Ryan Ten Doeschate they have two destructive and match-winning batsmen, while the likes of Jimmy Neesham and Hamish Rutherford have also impressed.
If the pitch has some bounce and pace in it, the Otago bowlers, led by Ian Butler, will immediately come into play and the Mumbai Indians will need to be wary about the New Zealand side.
"(It feels) very good to have done so well and qualified," Ten Doeschate said. "Not to win one or two but to win all three games in the qualifiers is pretty special."
"We have won ten games in a row in the domestic competition to get here and win the three qualifying games as well is great. The four teams in our pool are going to be exceptionally tough games, but we don't feel like we are underdogs; we feel that we are good enough to match these teams.
"Whether that means winning or not is a totally different story. But the confidence from the three qualifying games and the belief that the team has got from stringing so many wins together has made a difference."
While admitting the Mumbai Indians start favourites for the tie, Ten Doeschate is confident Otago have the firepower to get the better of the IPL giants.
"I think Mumbai Indians will be under a lot of pressure," Ten Doeschate added. "If they lose their first two games, it is going to be tough for them to make it through the Groups, so they will be under a lot of pressure.
"Hopefully that plays into our hands a bit. But for us there is a subconscious confidence from winning and knowing how to win and trust in the system."
For the Mumbai Indians to top Otago, it is essential that the batsmen come to the party, after their struggles in the opening game. A good opening stand from Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith will help, with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard then able to take over towards the middle and end of the innings.
Where to watch
The match is scheduled for a 8 p.m. start, with it set for a Live telecast on Star Sports, Star Cricket (Hindi) and Star Cricket HD. You can also catch the action online by clicking the official link HERE.
Squads: Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ambati Rayude, Aditya Tare, Rishi Dhawan, Abu Nechim, Akshat Patel; Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell.
Otago Volts: Nick Beard, Michael Bracewell, Ian Butler, Mark Craig, Derek De Boorder, Jacob Duffy, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, James McMillan, Jimmy Neesham, Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Neil Wagner, Neil Broom.
Prediction: Mumbai Indians bounce back with a win, ending Otago Volts' winning streak
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