2975 days ago
Can the Mumbai Indians put behind their horrendous performance in the UAE?
Often, after a successful season, the team wishes to ‘pick up where they left off’. Unless you have been living in a pineapple under the sea wearing a CSK jersey, you will know that Mumbai Indians have gloriously failed to ‘pick up where the left off’. Coming in as defending champions, and losing your first 5 games of the season is a pretty bad omen. 2nd only to losing the first 6 games of the season. Mumbai seemed to avoid that fate by defeating the all conquering Kings XI Punjab team and getting their India leg of the tournament off to a great start.
Now that the India leg of the IPL 2014 season is in full swing, will Mumbai find start winning consistently? Russell Arnold thinks not. Given how their batting lineup has struggled for consistency and even structure, it would be hard to see anyone wager money on it happening. But the win against Kings XI Punjab, featured composed innings from CM Gautam and Rohit Sharma complimented by the quick innings of Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard and even Aditya Tare, even though it looking like the batting order was picked by a lucky draw. Gautam who had so far batted in the lower middle order, was sent out to open in place of Aditya Tare. Kieron Pollard who had struck form with a brilliant 78 against Hyderabad, was sent in at no. 6. Rayudu, who has struggled for consistency and strike rate regardless of batting position was sent in at no. 3 to take on the inform Kings XI Punjab. Even though all these gambles paid off, it doesn’t exactly color the supporters in confidence for the remaining games. The opening slots continue to be a bother. Introducing Lendl Simmons in place of Ben Dunk could be an experiment worth trying. His availability as a bowling option could prove valuable as well.
The bowling department has not been considered the issue simply because the batting department has been such a remarkable failure so far. But the bowling department has its own demons to deal with. Pragyan Ojha has really underperformed this season, picking up just 1 wicket in 19 overs with an economy of 8.78 rpo so far. That would have been fine, except that the all rounders Anderson and Pollard have gone for over 10rpo themselves. Pollard has taken lesser wickets than captain Rohit Sharma this season and has a worse economy rate. With a dearth of Indian bowling options to turn to and given Zaheer’s new found injury concern in the game against Punjab, the bowling department could soon find itself coming under the spotlight if the team fail to win consistently. Also, bowling spear head Malinga faces the distraction of a one-off T20 international away against England on 20th May. This means he is likely to be unavailable for crucial IPL away games to Rajasthan (19 May) and Punjab (21 May).
The bottom line is that Mumbai need to win at least 6 out of their remaining 8 games and/or hope for other results to go their way to make it to the final 4. It could prove to be mission impossible given that they don’t have the best squad this year or even the most in-form squad this year. The win against Punjab was a much needed morale booster – so was getting the hell out of UAE, probably. They need to build on it for their next 2 home games against Bangalore and Chennai. But much still depends on achieving stability and consistency in the playing eleven.