Zaheer Khan turned 43 on Thursday and instead of having a birthday bash, he was sweating it out with the Mumbai Indians team for an important practice session before their final league stage game against bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Mumbai are on 12 points and can still make it If KKR lose their last game today - which will keep KKR also on 12 points. And if Mumbai beat Sunrisers, they make a backdoor entry in to yet another play-off of the IPL.
When I spoke to ‘Zak,’ he was very clear and said they would give their best shot whatever the result of the KKR vs Rajasthan Royals match. Mumbai have a big task to qualify for the play-off if KKR win because their net run-rate is -0.048 compared to KKRs 0.294. Mumbai did make up in their last game by trouncing Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah for just 90 runs and chased the target in eight overs to lift their run rate. Zaheer hopes they will go for it and have nothing to lose and who knows - as Mumbai have the firepower to make it as they showed in their last match.
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And if Mumbai does make it, they will be a dangerous side and will be hard to beat as they will come in to the play-off with lot of confidence and of course having the experience of winning big matches after having won the IPL five times. Last year, they dominated the entire IPL season in the UAE and were deservedly the champions.
Whether they make it or not, we can only come to know on Friday evening but Zaheer Khan, who has been Director of Mumbai Indians, has still not given up hopes. This is why Mumbai Indians are called the ‘Kings of IPL’ for their never-say-die attitude.
- Cricket enthusiast and businessman Anis Sajan is Vice Chairman of Danube Group