Mumbai Indians director of cricket operations Zaheer Khan feels that failure of the middle-order in the last three matches has put a lot of pressure on the team. Mumbai lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 54 runs on Sunday as they were bundled out for 111 runs after being 79/1 at one stage.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl first in Dubai. RCB accumulated 165/6 thanks to Virat Kohli (51), Srikar Bharat (32) and Glenn Maxwell (56). In reply, Mumbai openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton De Kock stitched an opening partnership of 57 runs. De Kock was removed by Yuzvendra Chahal with the help of a brilliant catch on the boundary by Glenn Maxwell. Rohit Sharma got out to Glenn Maxwell when the scorecard read 79/2 in 10 overs. This proved to be a turning point of the game as the Mumbai batting collapsed like a pack of cards as they got all-out for 111 runs.
"I think the wicket was just fine, you can make out from how the team batting first went and how we started. I think it is just the form-based situation for us, you know the middle-order has not really fired for us in these last three games and that has put a lot of pressure," Zaheer said.
"So losing wickets after getting that kind of start is never going to help you recover," he added at the post-match press conference.
The former left-arm India speedster also had words of praise for Harshal, who completed a hat-trick and became the third RCBian to do so.
"He has got the hat-trick, so the man should be on the moon. Bowled very well, his slower one is something, which has become a trend for this IPL and he is having a fantastic season," said Zaheer.
The former Mumbai Indians player also said that the five-time champions have made a comeback from behind in the past and there is no reason why they cannot do it again.
"Well, we don't have that much time right now, we will have to really get things moving very fast, it is going to be must-win games for us coming up, so it is very important that the team sticks together and brings whatever it takes to win games of cricket.
"I think that hunger is going to be very important, that determination is going to be very important for us going forward and we got to believe it, this team has done it in the past, so there is no reason why we can't do it," said Zaheer.
According to the 42-year-old, the team hasn't been able to get going and is playing well only in patches.
"Well, I think, you know, we have not been able to get ourselves going, as simple as it gets. You got to have 40 good overs of cricket, you got to play good cricket throughout those 40 overs, to win games of cricket.
"So, we have been playing well in patches, and not really able to sustain it and that has been the case so far," explained the 42-year-old.
Asked whether the form of leg-spinner Rahul Chahar was a matter of concern, Zaheer quipped, "I mean, if you are just equating it to number of wickets, then you can say that."
Zaheer admitted that when things are tough at times one doesn't get the rhythm going.
"But I am pretty happy with the way he (Chahar) is bowling, you know the ball coming out of his hand is absolutely fine, it is just that the situation of the game sometimes you are not in that position, so you can look at it that way.
"In terms of confidence, he is right up there, I don't see any issues around that. It is just about having a few tough games," he signed off.
With this loss, MI has slipped to seventh position in the points table with four wins and six losses so far. From now on, every game is do-or-die for the team. Mumbai will play against Punjab Kings next, in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, September 28.