The Mumbai Indians’ vulnerability with the bat has eclipsed the side’s mediocrity with the ball. The batsmen stumbled through the UAE leg, but that the bowlers were not around to give a helping hand was equally disappointing.
The two consecutive victories at the Wankhede on the IPL’s return to India have given the team hope. While the batting has improved, it is time for the bowlers to follow suit.
Lasith Malinga’s (11 wickets) effectiveness has remained intact, he is the only Mumbai bowler in the top-20 wicket-takers. Harbhajan has been economical but the wickets column has a bare look. The rest have hardly troubled the batsmen.
On Saturday, the bowlers come up against the Chennai Super Kings, one of the strongest batting units in the competition. On the eve of the game, the Mumbai bowlers were relentless at practice. At the adjoining nets, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith hammered every delivery at will. The duo has been a combination of solidity and devastation that has left Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis with little to do.
Just as one was getting used to the tempo, Praveen Kumar yorked Kieron Pollard. The burly West Indian had cleared his front foot, ready to continue his assault on the bowler. But the ball came in, cramped him for room and the batsman was unsettled.
Praveen in for Zak
Initially ignored for the auction, Praveen has come in as a replacement for the injured Zaheer Khan. Having last represented the country two years ago, here is a man hungry to show that he still belongs to the elite level. Since his last IPL game for the Kings XI in 2013, he has played only nine professional games. A player whose attitude has always been under the scanner, Praveen’s domestic season was ruined by a shoulder injury.
Instead of sulking, the 27-year-old played a local tournament in Delhi last month. That he is in touch was visible on Friday as he had an hour-long session at the nets. The MI cannot afford to slip further, just like Praveen’s career. How the UP medium pacer performs along with the rest of the bowlers could address both the issues.