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Mumbai can see the Warne-ing sign

Mumbai can still secure the last-four berth ahead of Chennai with just one win out of their last two matches, reports Amol Karhadkar. Where they stand

cricket Updated: May 26, 2008 13:35 IST
Amol Karhadkar

The six-match winning streak is history for Sachin Tendulkar's men after two successive losses in the tournament. And as the Mumbai team boarded the plane from New Delhi to the Pink City on Sunday after suffering a loss to Delhi in a nail-biting finish—their fourth loss in the tournament—the semifinal spot appeared slipping from their hands.

Mumbai can still secure the last-four berth ahead of Chennai with just one win out of their remaining two matches, provided Dhoni's men fumble against Hyderabad. But all Mumbai players were thinking was to win both the matches—against league leaders Jaipur on Monday and Bangalore on Wednesday.

And despite Saturday's last-over loss, the mood in the camp was upbeat, if Robin Uthappa was to be believed. “We did bounce back after losing four matches early on in the tournament,” Uthappa, whose late charge propelled Mumbai to 176 against Sehwag's team on Saturday, told a post-match media conference.

“So there is nothing much to worry about. We have won six matches in a row. Now we need to win both the remaining matches.”

But even Uthappa, at the back of his mind, would know that the task is not as easy as it appears. After all, they are set to face the most consistent and formidable unit in Jaipur on Monday.

Incidentally, the last of the two losses that Shane Warne's men suffered in the tournament was against Mumbai on May 7. Before that loss, Jaipur had won five consecutive games. And after that also, they have done exactly the same.

And Warney could well be telling his boys to stretch the match to the last over of the contest. After all, Mumbai haven't been able to finish any of the four close matches they have played so far.

It all started in their IPL opener at home against Bangalore on April 20 when they were defending. Three days later, they faltered in the last over, this time with the bat.

And their last two matches—against Mohali last Sunday and Delhi yesterday—should have gone their way but the Mumbaikars failed to display their khadoos attitude when it mattered most.

As a result, Tendulkar will have to do a lot of talking —more than the half-hour pep talk he delivered on the eve of the Delhi game at Kotla—if Mumbai are to make it to the semis. And more importantly, it's high time the team think-tank starts fiddling with the players and stops doing silly strategic mistakes like playing off-spinner Siddharth Chitnis against Delhi.

Unless better cricketing sense prevails in Mumbai's planning, there is no way they can match Warne's men at the Sawai Man Singh stadium on Monday.