It is said that in cricket, it really does not matter what you have done in the past – all that matters is the present. Last year, Mumbai Indians were the all conquering side having won the IPL as well as the Champions League T20 tournament. This year, before the encounter against Delhi Daredevils at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on April 27, 2014, Mumbai had played 3 matches but failed to win any one of them and the trend repeated itself with a 6 wicket loss to Delhi, who themselves brought up their second win in the ongoing edition of the IPL.
Team composition: Mumbai Indians made no change to the team that lost against Chennai Super Kings in their last game. Delhi Daredevils made just one change – bringing in Kedar Jadhav for Manoj Tiwary.
Batting: MI won the toss and elected to bat first. However, they were unable to find much momentum with the bat and finished with a paltry 125 for 6 in 20 overs. Kieron Pollard compiled a painstaking 33 from 30 balls and received some assistance from CM Gautam and Harbhajan down the order.
Chasing a small target, DD’s innings was led by Murali Vijay who scored 40 from 34 balls and was ably assisted by skipper Kevin Pietersen, who remained not out in the end to make sure that his team won the game that was there for the taking.
Bowling: Jaidev Unadkat was the leading wicket-taker for the Daredevils with 2 for 29 and Shahbaz Nadeem (1 for 19) and Wayne Parnell (1 for 17) picked up wickets and strangled the flow of runs as well. Duminy bowled economically as well but Mohammed Shami once again conceded too many runs.
Defending a small total Malinga (2 for 17) tried his level best as did Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh – all of whom were economical but unable to pick up wickets. Corey Anderson (1 for 16) and Rohit Sharma (1 for 20) picked up wickets but gave away too many runs that made the job easier for the Delhi Daredevils batsmen.
Where do the teams go from here?
Delhi would be happy with how the team has performed in this match. However, there is still one grey area – Mohammad Shami. He has been going for too many runs, which is perhaps a result of his continued exertions for the Indian team in the last season. He needs to be rested a bit and perhaps new guys like Siddharth Kaul and Rahul Shukla needed to be provided an opportunity to show their true mettle.
Mumbai Indians are now at a situation where push has come to shove. Their batting does not have sufficient depth in the reserve and even the main team players are not being able to perform to the expected level. Perhaps someone like Ben Dunk, who has played well in the last Big Bash could be given a chance instead of Hussey and Jalaj Saxena should come in instead of Pollard who has failed to fire with either bat or ball.
Otherwise, they should look to be patient with the team that they have and wait for the results to take care of themselves. That is an approach that will serve the team well in the long term. However, the question in this scenario is, will the Mumbai Indians owners be able to have such an attitude in a short term competition like the IPL?Will it not be too late before everything falls into place? The answer to this question will determine Mumbai’s fate in the 2014 IPL in the days ahead.