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The Mumbai Indians have not had the best of starts in the tournament. Their bowlers were taken apart by the sheer class of Jacques Kallis and some fearless batting by Manish Pandey, while their batsmen fell to the guile of Sunil Narine and the rest of the KKR bowlers. However, MI’s chief mentor sounded positive ahead of the team’s upcoming game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“It is just the start of the tournament. We have had a slow start, but this is a long tournament and I am sure we will get into our strides very quickly,” Kumble said. “The boys are geared up and are really looking forward to Saturday’s game. It will be nice to win the match.”
Kumble also said that the team had identified the areas the side needed to work on after the loss in their opening game. “We need to improve on all three areas and we have spoken about it over the last couple of days. We are a good side, and it is important that we stick to what we can control and we can achieve on the field, and that is where the focus is. We are pretty confident that we will be able to put a good show tomorrow. Hopefully, we will get the right result.”
Aditya Tare and Michael Hussey opened the batting for MI against KKR. And given that Rohit Sharma has been effective for them as an opener, there were questions raised about the MI skipper possibly opening the batting. “Rohit batted at No.4 for Mumbai Indians last season when we won,” Kumble remarked. “I think Rohit understands that at this point of time, he needs to bat at No.4 where he was extremely successful for the team. We are looking at the team dynamics, rather than what an individual prefers. There is no fixed batting order in a T20 game. It is all about how you feel on that particular day and you change your order according to the situation of the game.”
Barring Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga, the rest of the Mumbai Indians bowlers looked ineffective. Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh were expensive and went wicketless in the game. But Kumble backed the experienced duo to come back strong come Saturday. “The two spinners that we have in our squad are two of the best spinners that we have in India. They showed what they are capable of in the last season and picked up 40 wickets between them. It is still early days in the tournament and I am sure things can only get better. Both are experienced enough and have more than 500 Test wickets, so I don’t think it is a worry.”
Defending champions, Mumbai Indians, will have an opportunity to open their account when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 5 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
Rohit Sharma’s team appeared a rusty unit in their season opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders. They allowed KKR to post 163 on the board and then fell short by a massive 41 runs with none of their batsmen playing a much-needed long innings to power the run-chase.
Royal Challengers Bangalore were barely challenged in their season opener. Their bowlers were clinical and incisive, shredding through the Delhi Daredevils’ top order in quick time. And their batsmen, led by Yuvraj Singh and skipper Virat Kohli, made light work of the run-chase to help RCB coast to a comfortable eight-wicket victory.
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 4 pm IST
Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
Though it was the bowling attack that set up the match for RCB in their last outing, the biggest positive for the team was the return to form of Yuvraj Singh – the most expensive player in the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction. Put together, Yuvraj, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Kohli and Albie Morkel make up, perhaps, the most formidable top order in the league. Even if one of the top five gets going, chances are RCB will have a field day. One can only imagine the plight of the bowlers if more than one of these hard-hitters has a big day at the office.
Mumbai Indians received a lot of criticism for their batting order in the previous match. With an innings restricted to just 120 deliveries, it is a must that the best batsmen in the line-up get to face as many deliveries as possible. MI must keep this principle in mind and use Kieron Pollard better than they have for the majority of his tenure with the team. Hussey (at the start of the innings) and Rohit (in the middle stages of the innings) will be key characters too.
Notes from previous match
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders: The Mumbai Indians will have to be mindful of the fact that despite getting an early breakthrough, they allowed Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey to stitch together what turned out to be a match-winning partnership. The team needs to be aware that in this format of the game, even one partnership can sway the course of the match decisively. MI will also be aware that their spinners – Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha – came in for a lot of stick and failed to get a wicket in the combined seven overs they bowled.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils: RCB bowled 10 extra deliveries – nine wides and one no ball – in their previous match, and that lack of discipline was the only glitch in what was otherwise a perfect outing.
There have been 13 meetings between RCB and MI, and the latter have a slight edge with a 7-6 win-loss record. When the two teams met last season, both teams won their respective home matches; RCB won by a slender margin of two runs at Bengaluru, while MI registered a convincing 58-run win at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
MI’s Rohit Sharma and RCB’s Chris Gayle are placed second and third respectively in the list of top run-getters in the IPL. Rohit has scored 2540 runs, while Gayle has 2512 runs to his credit. What Next
Royal Challengers Bangalore will be seen in action next on April 24 when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders at Sharjah. The Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, will stay put in Dubai where they will take on the Chennai Super Kings on April 25.