Mumbai Indians cricket operations director Zaheer Khan on Saturday expressed confidence that star all-rounder Hardik Pandya could play in their next match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. League

MI did not have a good start in the second phase of the tournament, losing the first two matches against Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.

But Zaheer is hopeful that Hardik will return to the playing XI in their next game on Sunday.

“Okay, we’re in a practice session today, so we’ll go there after the press conference is over and call for information on that. He (Hardik) started practicing, which I can share with you now.

So, we hope he (Hardik) is healthy and available. That is what we hope for, ”the former India pacer told a pre-match meeting.

MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene said the Baroda all-rounder lost the game against CSK. He also missed the next game with KKR. According to Zaheer, each team has become smarter in their preparations and five-time champions MI know how to work under pressure.

“As you know, IPL is a very competitive tournament, so teams always try to be one with each other and they are smart in their preparation and every team these days is evaluating each other. So we have to be on top.

“The focus has always been on us, this team has been very successful because we have focused on our processes, our strengths and our players taking the field. And they are champions who have won championships for us, so we have that kind of approach and we have had a lot of good conversations around those things.” He said.

“When it comes to the tournament back-end, the pressure (high), this team definitely knows how to work under pressure,” Zaheer said.

MI was wrong in the first two games after the middle-order IPL resume. “When you look at the scorecard, you say ya (laughs), there’s anxiety.”

Zaheer, however, emphasized that this was only a matter of time.

“But I do not see it (middle-order form) as a concern. It’s just about finding that rhythm.

“This team is very successful due to some processes in terms of form, it is just an innings away, be it a batter or a bowler and if you want to win cricket games, everything has to come together,” he explained.

Zaheer said they had a good start in the last two games but could not finish them.

“So far, we’m getting off to a good start, we have those platforms, (we) can not close under those circumstances, so the focus is on moving forward. It’s all about coming together and I know we want one game and one game is the next game,” he said. He said.

“Because we’re at that business end of the tournament, where every game is important and every game is more stressful.

“It’s time before we turn things around,” Zaheer signed.

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