Mohali's successful run may not appear as incredible as that of Jaipur, but it's also a fact that few had expected to see this team at the top of the table, especially after they lost the first two games.
After the false start, Mohali have turned the tide notching up five wins on the trot. More importantly, their success doesn't look like a fluke because it has been a story of everyone chipping in.
Bangalore skipper Rahul Dravid felt so. “They have been playing some amazing cricket for some time. What's made them so tough is the balance they have. They have many options in bowling and bat very deep, so I guess they would be tough to beat.”
HT takes a look at how their batsmen and bowlers have fared so far.
The batting always had a strong look about it with Yuvraj Singh leading the pack. They were under-rated initially as they didn't have many big hitters unlike Chennai or Hyderabad. But players like Kumar Sangakkara, Simon Katich wasted little time in showing that they could be as effective as the big hitters, and their strike rates prove the point. Besides, Yuvraj has looked in fine touch and others like James Hopes, Mahela Jayawardene too have chipped in with useful contributions. After Katich left, Shaun Marsh stepped in, and made a huge impression. Overall, the batting looks in good touch.
Initially, Mohali's bowling looked better than the batting, with the likes of Brett Lee, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and VRV Singh shouldering the responsibility. But they were hammered around in the first match. Except for Lee and Pathan, others proved easy pickings for the opposition batsmen. And once Lee left, it appeared Mohali would struggle with the attack. But Pathan has taken over the lead role and others have also come good. Things look smooth in this department as well.
Being one of the youngest squads, the fielding standards have been rather high. Players like Yuvraj, Chawla, Hopes, Katich, Marsh have all been livewires on the field. And whenever there is a slight drop in the intensity on the field, coach Tom Moody quickly points it out, like he did after the win over Bangalore. Instead of sounding too happy, Moody said they were lucky to win even after committing fundamental errors on the field. “The game is all about momentum, and one could lose it even with a slight let-up in intensity,” he said.
Leading from the front
Yuvraj had admitted that he had made certain mistakes after the team lost the first two matches. But he added in the same breath that he was learning. And one can't help but agree that he has learnt his lesson pretty soon. The hard-to-impress Moody was rather effusive in his praise of Yuvraj. “He has been superb as skipper in the last five games. He's been spot on with his handling of the bowlers, and fielding placements.”