Mumbai Indians captain Sachin Tendulkar smiles after winning the toss against Royal Challengers Bangalore before the start of their IPL 4 match in Bangalore.
The anxiety to get back their most experienced batsmen has united Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians. Buzz is Sachin Tendulkar is in town. But he will most probably not play Monday's match due to a finger injury. With the wealth of resources at their disposal, MI should be hopeful they can overcome his absence.
Deccan Chargers, however, are living on a prayer, hoping captain Kumar Sangakkara arrives from Sri Lanka in time and holds at least one meeting with them after the crushing defeat to defending champions Chennai Super Kings.
To have Sangakkara on board not only means restoring leadership but also adding a strong batting option to the team that looked woefully out of depth chasing CSK's 193 on Saturday.
Need to discipline
Chargers coach Darren Lehmann said Sangakkara was scheduled to land on Sunday afternoon but was tentative about his availability.
“I will have to speak to him,” said Lehmann. The former Australia batsman criticised the batsmen. "We fought for the first 16 overs of the match but lost momentum in the end when we conceded too many runs. But the batting needs to be more disciplined."
That is not Lehmann’s only problem. After fast bowler Ishant Sharma was ruled out for the season following ankle surgery, leg-spinner Amit Mishra is doubtful for the match due to shin and shoulder injuries. "Mishra's chances of playing are 50-50", said Lehmann.
Mumbai Indians, like CSK, have a famed bowling attack comprising Lasith Malinga and skipper Harbhajan Singh. Lehmann saw the positives. "But the advantage of playing the first two matches against the two best teams is you know where you stand early in the tournament."
Mumbai too are recovering from their loss in a low-scoring thriller to Pune Warriors after the win against the holders in the opening match. It prompted Harbhajan to urge his teammates to take more responsibility, especially in low chases. But given how the Chargers are fighting injury and the absence of players, Mumbai should be confident.
The pitch, which gets low and slow with time, too should work in Mumbai's favour as they have Harbhajan and Pragyan Ojha, with Kieron Pollard, whose slow-medium pace can keep the batsmen guessing. Chargers seemed to have learnt a lesson after fielding just one spinner against Chennai. “In all fairness, we might be adding one more spinner tomorrow,” said Lehmann.
Will he, wont he?
Buzz is, Sachin Tendulkar might play after missing out the previous match against Pune Warriors due to a finger injury. “His recovery has been very positive,” said Pragyan Ojha at a press conference here on Sunday. “But the management will take a call tomorrow,” said the Mumbai Indians spinner. Face off