Dubai: After another clinical win in Sharjah in the afternoon game on Sunday, it seems that champions Mumbai Indians are on the way of shaking off their tag of notorious slow starters in IPL 2020. They overcame the early loss of their prolific captain Rohit Sharma to pile up a 200-plus total on board while their bowling showed that they had devised a plan to come to terms with the flatbed of Sharjah which has been giving nightmares to the bowlers.
It was an impetuous attempt on part of Rohit to chase a wide one from Sandeep Sharma and get caught behind in the first over but his opening partner Quinton de Kock rose to the occasion to post his first half-century in five matches. The South African captain took his time to see through the powerplay overs and still got a valuable 67 with a strike-rate of 171-plus, something which shows there is room for innings-building even in this format.
- IPL 2020 in UAE: Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Chennai Super Kings by 7 runs - in pictures
- In Pictures: 40th London Marathon starts, featuring elite runners without spectator access
- IPL 2020 in UAE: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad — in pictures
- IPL 2020 in UAE: Virat Kohli shines as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals - in pictures
However, the biggest advantage of Mumbai is that no team can boast of a battery of power hitters from their No.5 to 7 as them in the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard. It will not be an exggeration to say that after Rohit, the trio had played the biggest part behind Mumbai’s success rate in the recent years - and the story was no different against the hapless Sunrisers attack.
‘‘It is great to have three power hitters. Today Krunal also showed his value. You come with bowling plans. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to bowl the best delivery at the time. I don’t try to impose my plans on them. I want them to give me their plan and then I set the field. It is always nice to have bowlers who do that,” remarked the skipper.
The execution of the bowlers, however, was spot-on with both Trent Boult and James Pattinson taking the pace off the ball for their slower ones and yorkers - which paid dividends on the Sharjah wicket. Kieron Pollard, who has also played T10 cricket on this wicket, formed the third angle to this plan and though Jasprit Bumrah was relatively little more expensive for his two wickets - it did not matter in the end.
There is every possibility that Mumbai will retain the same combination against Rajasthan Royals at their ‘home’ at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. The Royals, who started off on a promising note, need to get their act together in batting quickly if they do not want to lose the momentum.
The main responsibility lies on the shoulders of captain Steve Smith, who showed poor shot selection in last game, has to take the responsibility of batting deep into the innings. The other problems for Royals is that Robin Uthappa, their senior pro at No.4 position, had been a failure so far - putting the pressure on youngsters like Riyan Parag or Mahipal Lomror.
Royals need to raise their game against Mumbai Indians if they want to make a match of it on Tuesday.
Catch the match
Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Start: 6 om UAE
Live telecast on Bein Sports