With the Royal Challengers of Bangalore winning their first match easily, there will be plenty of breaths released, as it means, that two Indian franchises are now well on their way to qualify for the knockout part of the tournament.
Without meaning any disrespect to the other teams in the tournament, the way the audience participation is aligned, it is quite clear that for the tournament to be a success the Indian franchises have to do well.
Last year none of the Indian franchises made it to the knockout stage and the viewership dwindled considerably because of that. Maybe it was the newness of the tournament that made spectators and supporters a bit wary and also, India had just been eliminated in the Champions Trophy played prior to the Champions League, so the excitement levels were not quite there.
Maybe there was confusion about the world champions, for how could a Champions Trophy be followed by a Champions League. Be that as it may, the Champions League this time around seems to be followed by more people and that is something that will warm cockles of the hearts of all the stakeholders.
It will be even bigger, if Mumbai Indians start winning for there is no cricketer who is more followed than Sachin Tendulkar and the spectators never tire of seeing him play. He played quite superbly in the first game but wasn’t able to steer his team home. Luckily, they have had a few days off in which to analyze what went wrong and Tendulkar would realize that perhaps, he needs some other combination to work for him.
There is not much need for change but a bit of tweaking here and there should do the job. The bowling gets hammered in this format but even then, there are some bowlers who get less clobbered than others and he has to use them judiciously. The batting order also could do with Pollard coming higher up the order. Most teams seem to have slotted him as a slogger who can do so only in the last quarter of the innings. Why? He is probably going to get more sixes against the fourth and fifth bowler of the opposition, than against the top two bowlers who invariably bowl the final overs of the innings.
Sending him up when there are 10 or so overs left, will give him time to settle down and be more ready when the better bowlers come on to bowl. In the game against the South Australian team which has the speedy Shaun Tait in its ranks, Pollard could well be strangled by the yorkers that Tait bowls so well.
The Redbacks won their first game against the Lions who beat Mumbai Indians and so, opened up the table in that group. They are a very good side even if they don’t have too many big names in their ranks. The Mumbai Indians may have made the mistake of underestimating the Lions and they will do well, not to repeat the error against the Redbacks.
Saurabh Tiwary who had a good IPL should be back in the team, after missing out the first game and Mumbai would be hoping that Rayudu also clicks. Both these youngsters have done really well whenever Mumbai has batted first, but it is while chasing a good total that they have to show their temperament. It is a must win game for the Mumbai Indians, and the South Australians know it so it should be a great game to watch