We have always believed this – as much as the overseas players, it’s paramount for an IPL Team that their domestic players perform to their potential. Unestablished domestic players must stand up to the challenge and play along side established and international names if an IPL Team has to succeed in the league.
While it is the likes of Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson doing it for the Delhi Daredevils who have therefore fared reasonably well, it’s Nitish Rana and Krunal Pandya doing it for the Mumbai Indians, as a result of which, the Mumbai Indians are off to arguably their best start in an IPL tournament, winning four of the five games they’ve played. It’s Pollard and Krunal Pandya who played a pivotal role in winning them one; whereas the combinations of Nitish Rana and Krunal Pandya, Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya won them the other three. Nitish Rana became the orange cap holder yesterday, surpassing Gautam Gambhir.
While Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler have got Mumbai off to great starts at least on three occasions, Rohit Sharma was a terminal failure until the last game where he finally made a well-composed 40 off 28, spluttering back to form. Parthiv Patel, best used during the power play, showed great form in the first three games. In the last couple of them, he has failed to score much. In yesterday’s game, in fact, he got out for a duck. This shouldn’t be a matter of concern, though, as he has looked pretty decent so far. Butler started off really well and has looked in great touch. Had it not been for a couple of bad decisions, his campaign would have looked a lot better. Pollard made a magnificent 70 to pull Mumbai Indians out of dire straits against Royal Challengers after Mumbai were stranded at an unbelievable 7/4 after Samuel Badree’s hattrick. Pollard pollard it up with flamboyant 39 in yesterday’s game, even as Mumbai Indians beat the Gujarat Lions by 6 wickets. Pollard’s form is a great sign for Mumbai, and a bad one for the rest of the Teams. Down the order, Hardik Pandya to has looked great and has scored runs consistently, as per the game’s requirements.
As far as the bowling is concerned, apart from yesterday’s game, Lasith Malinga and Jaspreet Bumrah have looked in great touch. McClenaghan, too, has been bowling tight lines and hasn’t given too much. Harbhajan Singh bowled wonderfully yesterday, bowled quicker through the air and with a lot of variations, containing the Gujarat batsmen to concede only 22 off his 4 overs, getting a wicket. The Pandya brothers, easily the most valuable siblings in the IPL, probably more than the Pathan brothers, have bowled brilliantly too. All in all, the Mumbai Indians have looked like the complete Team of the tournament, and are hot favourites to advance to the play-offs. The only thing that can stop the Mumbai juggernaut at the moment is complacency – if Mumbai Indians can guard themselves against it, they’ll continue to be the formidable side they are right now. With the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Mahela Jayawardene and Jonty Rhodes to guide them, they will surely continue to play strong.