With their win over the Kings XI Punjab, the Mumbai Indians, just like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad are showing that there clearly seems to be something to the so called ‘home advantage’ factor this season at least.
It’s certainly an interesting trend as you tend to expect home advantage to count in a Test match but I never expected it to become a telling factor in the T20 game. Sure, the crowd support and conditions are helpful to any home side, but the teams mentioned above have clearly taken advantage of those factors more than you would think for a T20 game.
Another notable trend I’m seeing is how captains struggling for form are taking the tough step of dropping themselves to bolster the team’s chances of getting the desired result. The Mumbai-Punjab game saw Adam Gilchrist follow in the footsteps of Ricky Ponting and Kumar Sangakkara, though unfortunately for Gilly, his team still fell short.
Painful as it may be for these guys, they are all team players who clearly understand how important it is to always pick your best eleven. In the T20 format particularly, you ideally want to make every ball count, and for that to happen, you especially need your top-order to be firing.
In Mumbai’s case, apparently Ponting’s presence on the field hasn’t been missed as much as everyone thought it might, as his replacement Rohit Sharma has taken over the reins with aplomb. It’s really good to see Sharma take on the additional responsibility of the captaincy, and on the evidence so far, it seems to be bringing out the best in him as a player too.
The treatment he meted out to David Hussey in the final over of Mumbai’s innings seemed to take the wind out of Punjab’s sails. Sharma’s always been a very talented player but his mentality has often been questioned. Hopefully this experience of skippering a top team in a high-profile tournament where there’s no shortage of pressure will spark a turnaround in that sense and hold him in good stead for the future.
Mumbai now travel to face a Hyderabad side who haven’t been among the runs as much as they have been among the wickets. While the Sunrisers have certainly done well in their first season and surprised many people, this game against an in-form Mumbai team will be a good indication of whether they are a team that can go far or just an also-ran. We’ll also get to see whether the ‘home advantage’ trend continues.
Professional Management Group