In the world of T20 there are very few things you can predict. One of them is you predict at your own peril. Unless you are talking about a team as hopelessly placed as the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL II, writing a team off can be imprudent. Those to have seen the end of the road for Mumbai Indians a few days back should realise this now.
They are placed fourth at the moment after two successive wins and with the number of points separating the fourth and seventh teams being just one, this is a rare situation where it’s difficult to say who is breathing down whose neck. Mumbai Indians are one of them, chasing others while also being chased, and seem to have found the right mix after some effort.
They tried with contrasting outcomes different middle-order combinations after the opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya. It didn’t often work whenever the veterans got out early and with the exception of Jean-Paul Duminy, the middle-order was alarmingly short on runs.
Mumbai Indians seem to have sorted this out now. After wasting Ajinkya Rahane lower down the order in a few games, they have pushed him up and although he failed against Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday, he seems to be a good choice at No. 3. Despite his inexperience, he can switch gears in quick time and if he clicks, a lot of his team’s batting worries will be taken care of.
So Rahane, Duminy and an in-form Dwayne Bravo to go with Tendulkar and Jayasuriya, Mumbai Indians have struck the right batting combination. Zaheer Khan’s absence reduced their strength in bowling but with Lasith Malinga firing they will always have a chance of taking wickets and once they do that, anything can happen. Harbhajan Singh doesn’t like doing nothing and if used properly, he too can come in handy.
Their campaign has been somewhat similar like the previous year when they narrowly lost out on a semi-final berth after struggling for consistency. What should encourage Mumbai Indians this time is that they seem to have found the right combination at a crucial time of the competition. It’s a question of being consistent in the three remaining matches. If they do that, they stand a strong chance of proving a few predictions wrong.