After storming to yet another impressive home win against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, with 16 points and four games in hand, must surely now fancy their chances of securing one of the coveted top two slots in the standings.
Today’s encounter against bottom placed Pune Warriors might seem like a great chance for Rohit Sharma’s men to edge even closer to the top, but, to me, it’s one of those banana skin affairs which they will do well to avoid slipping on.
Pune have unfortunately remained a good side only on paper and as in the previous two seasons, just haven’t been competitive enough. Still, I’m sure they would love nothing more than to put one past their local rivals and try and make some sort of impact on what’s happening above them.
They surely have the players capable of doing that in guys like Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh, even if the latter hasn’t been anywhere near his
best. Mitchell Marsh is also one to keep an eye out for and I reckon this game could be a lot closer than you might think.
Having said that, the manner in which Mumbai yet again flexed their muscle against Kolkata confirms that, along with Chennai, they are the two most in-form sides at the moment. Mumbai have probably got the best bowling attack of the tournament. What makes Malinga, Johnson, Harbhajan and Ojha so lethal is the one key quality that they have in common – they are all wicket-taking bowlers who don’t just look to stifle batsmen.
The other encouraging sign for Mumbai has been the bright performances of some of their young local players. Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni and Abu Nechim have, to their credit, each shone when they’ve been given the opportunity.
It was also a treat watching Tendulkar play one of his more fluent knocks in recent times against Kolkata. He’s clearly still capable of winning a match of his own bat and he would have been disappointed to have got out at 48 when he was looking good for a lot more.
The stats tell us that Mumbai have won seven out their eight games batting first, so, besides their win away to Kolkata, their ability to successfully chase down a score hasn’t really been put to the test. But I honestly believe they are well equipped to deal with that challenge whenever it does arise.
In any case, it’s a relative subject, as if you’re bowling attack is as good as Mumbai’s is, you may well find yourself with not too many runs to chase.
Professional Management Group