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Mumbai look to balance Bravo loss

Thanks to their six-match winning streak, not just the players but even the supporters have forgotten the torrid start losing the first four matches to Mumbai’s campaign in the tournament, reports Amol Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: May 20, 2008 01:18 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Indian cricket fans tend to have a short memory. The case is same with Mumbai team’s fans when it comes to the Indian Premier League.

Thanks to their six-match winning streak, not just the players but even the supporters have forgotten the torrid start losing the first four matches to Mumbai’s campaign in the tournament. And as Sachin Tendulkar’s team returned on Monday evening after settling scores with Hyderabad on Sunday, a semi-final looks well within grasp. With 12 points off 12 matches, Mumbai are fourth in the standings and three wins from the remaining four matches would ensure their initial goal.

But that will certainly not be easy. West Indian allrounder Dwayne Bravo has left for national duty and Mumbai will be forced to reshuffle their line-up a bit. “He has been exceptional with the bat, with the ball and on the field,” Tendulkar said, during Sunday’s post-match conference. “He will certainly be missed.”

Wishing Bravo good luck for the Australia series, coach Lalchand Rajput was optimistic that the reshuffle would not be much of a headache. “Since Bravo was available today, we thought of not risking Shaun (Pollock),” Rajput said. “We didn’t want a situation where we would be without two key players all of a sudden.”

Pollock has been suffering from a back strain and Mumbai chose to rest him on Sunday. But Rajput clarified that Pollock will be available for Mumbai’ last home match against Yuvraj Singh’s Mohali on Wednesday.

Smith signed

As backup, the Mumbai team has signed Bravo’s compatriot Dwayne Smith and the team spokesperson said the allrounder would be available on Wednesday. This will give the think-tank more options while selecting the final XI as they can opt for Smith to replace Bravo or even go for a specialist batsman or a fast bowler depending on the pitch.

With the most expensive team set to play their last three games in a space of five days in three different cities, it would be better if they get the combination right at the Wankhede Stadium.