The Mumbai Indians suffered a 20-run defeat at the hands of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the first match of the second leg of IPL 2021. The five-time champions now have eight points from as many matches and will need to raise their game to make the playoffs.
While reviewing the CSK-MI encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that the Mumbai Indians' problems have got slightly compounded. He elaborated:
"The problems have increased a little for the Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma was not there, Hardik Pandya was not there. I mean what is happening? I have become a little disappointed in these COVID times, the information does not come from anywhere. You don't come to know why someone's name is not there, who is fit and available."
"No one told why Rohit was not there. They were saying there is some niggle in the leg which happened in the fourth Test match and has not yet healed. No one knows what is the problem with Hardik Pandya. It was heard that he is batting but not bowling, and batting very well. But then he didn't turn up."
Hardik Pandya's absence from the Mumbai Indians playing XI also raises doubts about his availability as an all-rounder for Team India at the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Aakash Chopra on the Mumbai Indians' playoff prospects
Aakash Chopra feels the Mumbai Indians will not qualify for the knockout stages unless Rohit and Hardik are back in action. He reasoned:
"They have four wins and as many losses in eight matches. They need to win four out of the remaining six, you can qualify with three as well. But it is not going to happen without Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya's availability because neither Ishan Kishan nor Surykumar Yadav has scored runs this season."
The 44-year-old signed off by reiterating the importance of the duo to the Mumbai Indians. Chopra said:
"If your main players are not scoring runs, it is absolutely mandatory for Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya to come. If that does not happen, Mumbai might struggle to qualify, they can get stuck."
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Apart from Rohit and Hardik's return to the park, the Mumbai Indians will also hope that the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan get back to their fluent best.