Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will have a good opportunity to complete a hat-trick of Indian Premier League (IPL) titles when they begin the tournament's second phase in UAE on September 19. They are currently at number four in the IPL 2021 points table after the first seven matches.
Former India cricketer and ex-Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir is backing MI in UAE as he feels the venue is going to give them an advantage. He believes the conditions here suit the five-time IPL champions. Last season, MI had dominated the tournament and won the IPL 2020 in UAE.
“They’ve played in conditions that are completely different to where they normally play in. When you see the conditions in Chepauk or Delhi, they are completely different from what you get at Wankhede. And, as I mentioned, they are going into conditions that are suited to their fast bowling - people like Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult.
"There will be swing upfront, so they will be very dangerous. Plus, Mumbai wants balls to swing and you’ve got quality fast bowlers and it’s going to be an advantage for them. Plus their batters, want the balls to come on to the bat as well, people like Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, all those guys struggled at Chepauk, because it was gripping and turning," he said on Star Sports' show Game Plan.
Gambhir is confident that MI won't have any troubles in Dubai or Abu Dhabi due to the nature of the pitch. However, he wants MI to be cautious as they won't have any chance of a comeback this time after a poor start, which we usually see in their case.
"They are not going to struggle, once they start playing in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. So, that’s the reason why I would feel Mumbai Indians will have an advantage; they can’t afford slow starter anymore, because they have seven games to go and they might have to win 5 matches to qualify, so they can’t afford to be in that situation, where they have to win five out of five,” Gambhir said.