It's difficult to see how the Mumbai Indians can make the cut. Their bowlers and fielders look incapable of protecting the strongest vault in the world. Their own men are spoiling best-laid plans.Twice in two matches, Sachin Tendulkar's men have been in control before they lost the plot in the end. All of a sudden, their fielding went to pieces and the bowling, given the kind of experience they possess, was ordinary to say the least.
Not even the inspirational Tendulkar has had much effect. In fact, some of their tactics, especially the usage of bowlers, was surprising.
Tendulkar failed - but only by his lofty standards. Three fours and a six in his brief knock promised much more than 20 runs. But then batting hasn't been one of Mumbai Indians' worry. It's how they have come across in the field. They have experience and reputation, youth and verve. They also fought back many a times from the brink in the last IPL. But that is distant memory.
On Tuesday, one lost count of the catches they dropped. Or a succession of full tosses which are now being attributed to the dew factor.
All this while the batsmen had done brilliantly first up.
There is a silver lining of course. This abysmal match can actually be a turning point in the life of a youngster. Saurabh Tiwary made his mark in the last IPL. On Tuesday, he showed he is equally comfortable in alien conditions. Durban is far away from the D.Y. Patil Stadium but you wouldn't have known looking at the assurance of this Ranchi youngster at the crease.
Tiwary twice made it to Sri Lanka with the India team and on both occasions ended up warming the bench. He would now be viewed more seriously. With the scramble for World Cup spots on, he has done his chances no harm at all.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings are truly in the hunt. They could be celebrating by the weekend.