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It will be their first game in their home ground and when the Mumbai Indians step out to face the Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, be rest assured to see a wave of blue and not surprisingly the loudest cheer for the home team.
The team will obviously be pumped up after a brilliant victory against the Chennai Super Kings in their previous fixture amidst a sea of yellow, and Dinesh Karthik said the team was excited to play their first game in front of their home crowd. “Obviously as a team we are excited to play our first game in front of our home ground. Last year the stadium was packed and we are expecting a big crowd and looking to do well against the Delhi Daredevils. “
The big question was if Lasith Malinga would feature in his first game of the IPL tomorrow. “Malinga came for practice today and he is eager to play. We will take a call on him tomorrow, “ added Karthik.
The Mumbai Indians snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat as the match against the Chennai Super Kings went on till the last over. CSK captain MS Dhoni had almost got his team home by his own might, but it was a stunning catch by Pollard that brought back the game into MI’s hands. Obviously a win like that has to keep the team in high spirits.
“It was a game where both the teams played cricket of the highest quality and we were able to hold our nerves till the end. At one point of time everybody thought that MS Dhoni was going to take away the game away from us. But thanks to Pollard, we got him in the last over and the way Munaf bowled and finished the game for us, we are really happy the way the team has done.”
Not just Pollard, Karthik on a personal front too has had a rollicking start to this year’s IPL. He got a 37 ball 60 against RCB and a 25 ball 37 in the match against CSK, but failed to carry his bat till the end of the innings on both occasions, something that the wicketkeeper batsman wants to improve on.
“I am happy with the way I am batting. Having said that I feel, I should have finished the game in Bangalore but I did not do that, but Keiron Pollard did that wonderfully for us in Chennai. If you are batting well, it is important to finish games off.”
Whether Karthik works on his weaknesses and delivers more consistently is yet to be seen, but at the moment he is enjoying his stint with the Ricky Ponting led Mumbai Indians. “Ricky Ponting has always been one of my favorite players. I have admired his batting and was really looking forward to meeting him and being a part of his team. The way he has positive energy and the way he is doing things is wonderful. I am really looking forward to a few more games with him.”
When asked if the team were failing to get quick starts with Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar opening the innings, Karthik said, “In the two wickets we have played, it was seaming a bit in Bangalore and there was a bit of seam in Chennai as well. It was important for us to see off the initial overs and then start scoring freely. We did not lose any wickets in the first fifty runs and infact Ponting and Sachin actually got us to a good start. We are very happy with the way things are going.”
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling coach, Venkatesh Prasad has a rather vast contingent of fast bowlers to work with this season. Every time he calls for a bowlers’ meet, 12 pacemen turn up in the room. The former India pacer says it’s exciting to have a large and vast group to mentor and is happy with the plethora of bowling options the RCB have now.
“I’m really enjoying having a huge group of pacers to work with,” Prasad said. “We do have a general bowlers’ meet every now and then but when it comes to matches I speak to a select bunch of pacers who will be taking the field”.
“That makes the group smaller and we can discuss specific matters such as bowling to a particular batsman, etc. I also encourage every bowler to give his inputs irrespective of whether he is an overseas player or a young Indian pacer.”
“A few of our bowlers are coming back from injuries and we’d like to give them some time. And we can do that because now we have a lot of bowlers to pick from.”
RCB play their third game of the Pepsi IPL 2013, against the Sunrisers Hyderabad – the team to which they lost their last game in a thrilling one-over eliminator. RCB defeated MI by two runs in their opening game.
Against both, MI and SRH, it was Vinay Kumar who bowled the last over and effectively so. Against MI, Vinay defended 10 runs in the final and picked up two wickets. Againsr SRH, he gave away six runs for a wicket.
However, he failed to keep it tight in the super over and conceded 20 runs to SRH, who walked away with a win. Prasad highlighted Vinay’s positive performance and expressed faith in him.
“What Vinay did against SRH and MI was fantastic and he’s grown in confidence after those performances,” Prasa told the media “We need to appreciate him for that and encourage him to take more responsibilities when it comes to bowling the last overs and the super overs. He knows what he’s doing and he executes the strategies formed in the bowlers’ meeting on the field. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to do it for us in the super over but that happens,” Prasad said, before stating a feature of Vinay’s bowling that needs to be changed in T20 cricket.
“His thought process and field placement was really good but I felt he probably became too predictable, trying to bowl the yorker every ball. That aspect, the one about keeping the batsmen guessing, is what we’ll work on.”
The bowling mentor was also pleased with his lads for showing character and fight in both games.
“The positives I’d like to take from these two matches is the spirit with which we played and competed. We were 20 runs short in the first game and 130 was a difficult score to defend in the second game. But the bowlers have stood by each other and by the batting department as well,” he said.
Amid all the furore and excitement, RCB would be elated to with the news that AB de Villiers will join the team on Tuesday. “de Villiers is arriving in the early hours tomorrow morning and he will be ready to play the game tomorrow. Zaheer and Rampaul included, everyone is fit and ready for the game, “ said the former India pacer.