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Middle-over blues for Mumbai Indians

The Mumbai Indians have to move now or face the harsh reality of not making it to the semi-finals. From a high to being sixth in the table, they are battling for survival, writes Ravi Shastri.

india Updated: May 06, 2009 01:39 IST

The Mumbai Indians have to move now or face the harsh reality of not making it to the semi-finals. From a high to being sixth in the table, they are battling for survival. It doesn’t help that their next two matches are against two of the top sides, the Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils. The third is against the Royal Challengers who thrashed them by nine wickets the other night.

If the theory of at least five or six players pulling their weight in clinching a game is true, then Mumbai have a problem. The team would wish that Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya fire together more often or the younger lot of Abhishek Nayyar and Ajiyanke Rahane would count.

No other team has as formidable a bowling attack as Mumbai’s. Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga are match-winners but it isn’t being reflected in the results.

It’s fair to say that the backup players are not coming good. The fourth and fifth bowlers haven’t caused any ripples. Mumbai are losing the game in the middle overs, both in batting and bowling.

Zaheer and Harbhajan may not have set the grounds on fire but they aren’t the culprits. Yes, they could have done better than just three and six wickets respectively but that’s the bane of all top bowlers, batsman usually see them off and then take on the rest. Muttiah Muralitharan too has just seven wickets from six games while a rookie like Shadab Jakati has eight from half the number of matches! He has impressed me the most amongst the younger lot.

Mumbai managed 48 runs from the last three overs in the last game and that’s an encouraging sign. They need to induce fear among opponents, which Chennai and Delhi have done successfully.

TCM