It’s fascinating how sometimes a minor tweak in the game can transform a struggling player into a well-oiled machine. There are examples in the Mumbai Indians ranks, including opener Parthiv Patel , Lasith Malinga and Ambati Rayudu .
Parthiv was edgy, Malinga toothless and Rayudu rusty in the first half of the Indian Premier League. Gradually, all three came back to form and it’s no surprise that MI’s campaign is looking up.
Taken on board this season with high expectations, it was frustrating to see Parthiv play and miss or getting rapped on the pads by some innocuous balls. But the batsman who came out to bat against Rajasthan Royals in their last home game was a player on the top of his game.
The bat swing was swift and the blade was coming down straight. When in such a frame of mind, batting becomes easy. The challenge is not to get carried away as he did by wasting a roaring start against the Royals to be out for 23 (14 balls) in the last home game. Composed on Sunday against Kings XI Punjab , Parthiv was rewarded with his first halfcentury (36-ball 59).
Malinga had been below par in the first six games and experts had started questioning if he could be the same force anymore. The Sri Lanka pacer went back to the drawing board, thought over the little missing links in his game and in the home game against Sunrisers Hyderabad was back to being the incisive and wily operator. He had six wickets in his first six outings, in the last three he has eight.
Warming the bench through the World Cup, Rayudu seemed to have lost his rhythm. With more game time, he has found his fluency, the brisk unbeaten half-century last week against Rajasthan Royals being proof.
Like the three, most pieces have fallen in place for MI at the start of the second leg, even in terms of the combination and balance.
It has taken them too long to sort out the issues, and despite three wins on the trot, Rohit Sharma’s team is in a position where another slip can seriously affect the chances of qualification for the playoffs.
It’s a similar situation for the Delhi Daredevils, their opponents in Tuesday’s game at the Wankhede. Both teams are on eight points after nine games, lying at the bottom half of the table.
There is little to choose between the two sides. Delhi can claim psychological edge after beating Mumbai in the first leg while the home team has the momentum.
Delhi’s challenge is to overcome inconsistency. Beaten by the Royals on Sunday night, it was fielding which let them down — never a good sign for any outfit.
CSK currently sit on top of the IPL 2015 table with 14 points from 10 matches. Although RR have the same number of points after playing 11 matches, they are in second place due to their inferior run-rate.
Orange/purple capsRajasthan Royals (RR) batsman Ajinkya Rahane currently leads the Orange Cap standings with 430 runs so far, while Chennai Super Kings (CSK) seamer Ashish Nehra has scalped 17 wickets to top the bowling charts.