Jonty Rhodes must have gone to bed with his shoulder wrapped in bandage on Monday. The Mumbai Indians fielding coach had a hard day in the office, what with slamming down uncountable tennis balls with a racquet at almost the entire batting line-up.
The hard and intense workout made it crystal clear as to what was playing on the minds of the Mumbai Indians - the short and fast stuff. The Durban wicket produced a lot of uncomfortable bounce in the first match between Chennai Super Kings and the Central Stags, and that, along with the surprise loss in their first match, seems to have pushed the Mumbai Indians into emergency mode.
Rhodes, however, had some comforting words for the team. "The other day the wicket was a bit moist and overcast, so there was more assistance for the bowlers," said Rhodes. "But since then the wicket here has had a lot of sun, and has dried out. Yes, there's a bit of grass out there, but I have told the boys not to worry too much about it."
What could add to the anxiety of the Mumbai Indians is the fact that it's almost a must-win game for them.
If they lose this, their progress in the tournament will become dependent more on how other teams fare than what they do hereafter. "It's actually a crucial game for us, and we need to win all three from here. But then again, we will want to handle one game at a time, and then worry about the rest," he said.
The South Australia Redbacks, however, are licking their lips in anticipation. "We have a very strong battery of pace bowlers, and they are very much capable of making the most of the conditions," said skipper Michael Klinger.
With the Redbacks making their intentions clear, it will be interesting to see how the Mumbai Indians cope with the quick and short stuff hurled at them by Shaun Tait and co.