5-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians got off to an awful start in the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Rohit Sharma and the team lost their opening game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by two wickets. Defending only a modest score of 160 runs against Kohli & Co., Rohit's MI team gave a tough fight before going down on the last ball. Despite the intense battle, the Mumbai-based outfit remained winless in their opening match in a row since 2013. Australian batsman Chris Lynn made his debut for MI as Quinton de Kock was in quarantine after returning from the recent ODI series between South Africa and Pakistan. Ahead of MI's next match against KKR, MI's Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan confirmed that de Kock had completed his quarantine.
Hardik Pandya might bowl in the upcoming matches: Zaheer Khan
South African batsman Quinton de Kock will now be available for selection for their second match against KKR. While De Kock had joined the MI team days before the start of the tournament, he wasn't available for selection in the first match, considering the mandatory quarantine requirements. In his absence, Australian batsman Chris Lynn made his debut for MI and scored a well-made 49. It is now going to be a selection headache for the team management ahead of their second match. De Kock has been instrumental in Mumbai's success in the last two seasons. He has scored more than 500 runs in two successive seasons, 2019 and 2020.
In addition, Zaheer Khan stated that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be fit to bowl in the IPL very soon. MI failed to defend a challenging score despite dismissing Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell in their season opener. If Hardik opts to bowl in the upcoming matches, it will work well for the balance of the team. Earlier, Hardik Pandya also did not bowl in the first two ODIs against England. At the post-match press conference, Virat Kohli announced that the decision not to let Hardik bowl is also part of the workload management. The team management wants him fit for the upcoming England tour after the IPL. However, the same decision did not go well with several cricket experts. Mumbai Indians will now play their next game against two-time IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, at Chepauk.