A senior member of the Cricket Club of India (CCI) watched as the Mumbai Indians’ (MI) young guns hit the ball all over the park on Friday. A friend of hers, who was passing by, stopped and asked in jest, “Why aren’t you playing?” The lady smiled.
Continuing to joke, the grey-haired gentleman said, “They asked me to be careful while walking, otherwise the ball would hit me. I told them, ‘the ball can’t hit me, I will hit the ball’.” The IPL fever has gripped the senior members of the CCI, once the home of cricket in India, who are usually frustrated with cricket coming to their stadium because it disturbs their routine.
However, come Saturday, the CCI members will flock to the stadium in anticipation of the Mumbai Indians thumping the Deccan Chargers for the second time in a week.
While Sachin Tendulkar took it easy and joined the team at the hotel after the nets session, Saurabh Tiwary sat out of practice after a tooth extraction. Kieron Pollard made up for their absence with some towering strikes off the spinners that sailed into the stands.
MI slogged it out for almost 3 hours but most of the dejected Deccan stars, coming from Kolkata after Thursday night’s disappointing loss, rested in the hotel. Comfortably placed at the top of the points table, a loss won’t hurt the MI much, but they would want to put one foot in the semis with a seventh victory before they start to travel. The Chargers are desperate for a victory. After a hat-trick of losses, the defending champions find themselves seventh in the table. One more loss will put serious doubts over their chances to retain the crown.
When both the teams squared off in Navi Mumbai last Sunday, Adam Gilchrist’s men did everything right before Harbhajan changed the course with the willow. Gilchrist will be hoping his men will give it back to Bhajji in the same vein.