Defending champions Mumbai Indians' (MI) inconsistent performances in the early part of IPL 2021 have left West Indian legend Brian Lara worried about the Rohit Sharma-led team's inability to perform on sluggish surfaces.
After winning just two out of their opening five matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, MI move to the similarly slow pastures of New Delhi's Arun Jaitley Stadium for their next four encounters.
Speaking on the Star Sports show 'Cricket Live', Brian Lara remarked:
“I’m worried about Mumbai Indians. They are now going to another venue (Delhi), which again, is a bit sluggish. How are they going to perform? I’m very, very worried about the double champions.
Teams without confidence will see venues as problems: Brian Lara
While MI's world-class bowling attack comprising the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar has been dependable, it is their usually consistent batting line-up that has ended up disappointing.
Apart from skipper Rohit Sharma, who is their top-scorer with 201 runs, none of the other batsmen have managed to find any sort of momentum or consistency.
Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard have all been guilty of trying to hit their way out of trouble rather than attempting to graft innings of substance. This has resulted in MI not managing to cross 160 in any of their five innings so far.
Adding that confidence would play a huge part in the team's performance on varied pitches going forward in the tournament, Brian Lara said:
“I mean, it’s such a close tournament that it’s so hard to say. I think the teams that are winning, like RCB, will go to every venue with confidence. I think teams without confidence will see venues as a problem, they would see pitches as a problem," finished Brian Lara.
Mumbai's latest loss was to KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings (PBKS) on 23 April. Even though Rohit labored his way to 63 runs off 52 balls after being put into bat, MI could only manage 131/6 in their 20 overs.
In reply, PBKS had no problem in overhauling the target as they romped home by nine wickets with Rahul remaining unbeaten on 60 along with Chris Gayle (43*).
Having now set up base in Delhi, the five-time champions will be desperate to get back to winning ways in their next assignment, which is against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Thursday, April 29.
Click here for the full IPL 2021 schedule.