Pune : Mumbai Indians’ home bowlers will take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL here on Wednesday and will try to turn things around after consecutive defeats. MI have so far looked anything but five-time champions of the IPL, losing both their opening games first by four wickets against Delhi Capitals and then by 23 runs against a resurgent Rajasthan Royals.

And skipper Rohit Sharma will look to improve on several fronts to face KKR, who come into the game after thrashing Punjab Kings by six wickets. For MI, pacer Basil Thampi and spinner Murugan Ashwin have proved to be the weak-links as they conceded 73 runs in 3 overs during RR’s innings and both will need to do better on Wednesday.

In fact, Australian seamer Daniel Sams also went for runs and kept wickets in the last two matches. The trio will have to recover quickly from their forgotten outing against RR and bowl in the right areas to deter the KKR batsmen. Jasprit Bumrah with his three-for, however, showed why he is the best in the business, especially at the time of death and MI would be expecting another scintillating performance from him.

For a turn-around, Rohit himself has to deliver his best and knock down his favorite opponent, against whom he has a formidable record. Opener Ishan Kishan played a brilliant knock of 81 runs followed by a scintillating knock of 54 runs. If Mumbai are to post scores or chase big scores, which is likely to happen at the MCA Stadium in Gahunje, then Rohit and Kishan will need to set fire to all cylinders.

MI have badly missed the services of Suryakumar Yadav, who is known for playing several match-winning innings for the franchise. Yadav has recovered from his finger injury but it remains to be seen whether he plays alongside Rohit and there is no commitment on his availability.

While the emergence of the unhelpful N Tilak Verma, who smashed a 33-ball 61 to take MI to 81 in 8 overs against RR, was a big positive, the team still could not chase down a total of 193. And the likes of Anmolpreet Singh Tim David and West Indies Kieron Pollard will have to shoulder the responsibility. While Singh scored in the single digits, David also did not look comfortable on the Indian track and it needs to be seen if MI brings in South African Under-19 star Dewald Brevis, popularly known as ‘Baby AB’ .

The biggest asset for Kolkata is the return of star all-rounder Andre Russell. His six-hitting skills were on display against Punjab Kings and he would be keen to continue where he left off. But their top order, which included Ajinkya Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer, faltered against Punjab and the pair would look to give the team a good start.

Captain Shreyas Iyer is getting the start, but there is a big score left. Ditto for Sam Billings. Nitish Rana too has been far from his best and needs to be all guns blazing. KKR pacer Umesh Yadav has been impressive and could pose a potential threat to the MI batsmen but he will need the support of Tim Southee and Shivam Mavi, while eight overs from Varun Chakraborty and Sunil Narine could turn the game around. . Mumbai have won 22 times against KKR while KKR have won only seven times, and they would like to add one win to their tally.

Teams (from):

Kolkata Knight Riders: Aaron Finch, Abhijit Tomar, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Inderjit, Nitish Rana, Pratham Singh, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ashok Sharma, Pat Cummins, Rasikh Dar, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakraborty, Aman Khan, Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohammad Nabi, Ramesh Kumar, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Ramandeep Singh, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Verma, Tim David, Arjun Tendulkar, Basil Thampi, Hrithik Shokeen, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Murugan Ashwin, Riley Meredith , Tymal Mills, Arshad Khan, Daniel Sams, Dewald Brevis, Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Aryan Juyal and Ishan Kishan.