For the second match running, Mumbai Indians batted first after winning the toss. But the script was the same. Their top order collapsed like it did in the previous match. This was the third time that MI’s later order batsmen came to the rescue after the earlier batsmen had brought the innings to a pathetic state. Harbhajan Singh;s heroics against Kings XI Punjab was the first example. Then Anderson and Pollard saved MI’s face against Rajasthan Royals. On Friday, Pollard was one of the saviors yet again alongside Rohit Sharma. But having lost the early overs, the final scores in these previous became ineffective in taking Mumbai to that much needed win. On Friday, despite the poor show early on Mumbai Indians could still reach 183 and in 20-over games, this is considered as a good score. But MI’s opponents were Chennai Super Kings and they have an explosive batting line-up this year. For them, Mumbai Indians 183 was like a child’s play and they bludgeoned past Mumbai with 20 balls still remaining.
Rohit Sharma’s luck is running out. All his attempts are failing. Whether it is chasing the targets or setting them, Sharma is meeting a dead end. one culprit is the poor start of the innings and the second is ineffective bowling. On Friday at Ahmedabad, Sharma chose to bat after winning the toss and lost his openers and the one-drop batsmen in next to no time. After being reduced to 12/3 in the fourth over, Harbhajan Singh joined Sharma. The two batsmen brought some sanity back with a 45-run stand but it was too much to expect Harbhajan to lead the batting blast, when others are failing to contribute. CSK are good in bowling department as well and they wouldn’t yield cheap runs. Ashish Nehra was the pick of CSK bowlers and he yielded just 23 in his 4 overs in taking three wickets. Mumbai were kept at a tight leash and runs became difficult to come by. After Harbhajan’s departure, Kieron Pollard joined Rohit Sharma and the two repaired the damage by a 75-run stand by the 15th over. MI were 132/4 at that stage and although Sharma got out Pollard had Rayudu with him. Chennai bowlers applied pressure and ensured that in spite of some lusty blows, Mumbai were restricted to 183.
When CSK came to chase 184 required for victory, they began explosively. The first-wicket stand of 109 between Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum in the 8th over took Mumbai’s breath away. The chase became a mockery for CSK even after McCullum and Smith departed. Suresh Raina struck form and added 29 with Faf du Plessis, who was the only batsman to fall cheaply. Raina sealed one end, scored 43 off 29 balls and saw CSK through with Bravo on the other end.
It is now time that Mumbai did some hard thinking after their fourth consecutive defeat in as many matches. It is their batting that has been letting them down and they need to address the issue in right earnest. The poor scores do not give enough for the bowlers to defend the score. They have to also stop depending on the one-off heroics from an odd player. It has got to be collective team effort. The bowlers were completely ineffective against CSK. Malinga went for 40 in his 4 overs and Harbhajan yielded 44 in his quota of 4. Another frontline bowler Jagdeesha Suchit was struck for 33 in 2 and Pollard gave away 26 in just 10 balls. This is no way of defending a total, howsoever challenging it may be.