Heading into the game on Saturday evening, Rohit Sharma was asked about Mumbai Indians' opening game and UAE woes. The captain donned a nervous smile but shrugged it off immediately saying, "We have got only two players from that squad. We have got a whole new set up now. The way we've been playing cricket for the last couple of years has been good. All in all we've had good preparation. Now all about execution." Four hours later, the statistic came haunting back as Mumbai lost the IPL 2020 opener against Chennai Super Kings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The last time Mumbai won an opening match was in 2012. Since the following season, the four-time IPL winners have failed to win any of their next eight openers.
Mumbai Indians opening match of a season since 2013
2013 v RCB: Lost by two runs
2014 v KKR: Lost by 41 runs
2015 v KKR: Lost by seven wkts
2016 v RPS: Lost by nine wkts
2017 v RPS: Lost by seven wkts
2018 v CSK: Lost by one wkt
2019 v DC: Lost by 37 runs
2020 v CSK: Lost by five wkts
Not only so, Mumbai have even failed to bag a single victory on UAE soil. Back in 2014, when IPL had last visited the nation owing to a clash in dates with the General Elections, Mumbai were the only team to lose all their allotted five league matches in the UAE leg.
"None of our batsmen carried on for us, like du Plessis and Rayudu did for CSK. I think we were 85 in the first 10 overs," said an optmistic Rohit after the five wicket defeat in Abu Dhabi. "Something for us to learn. Still early days. We all want to start really well, it's crucial in this tournament where momentum is important. Few things for us to learn from this game, we did make few mistakes. Hopefully we'll rectify those and come out smarter in the next game."
"We need to adapt to the pitches, it got better with the dew coming. You need to hit the gaps and focus on that part of the game. The opposition can tie you down, it's all about understanding what we need to do," he added.
Mumbai will next play Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue on September 23.