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B'lore, Mumbai play to sign-off with wins

In the event of Chennai defeating H'bad on Tuesday night, the B'lore-Mumbai tie will be of academic interest only, reports G Krishnan.
Hindustan Times | By G Krishnan, Bangalore
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2008 03:19 PM IST

Mumbai have experienced the good and the bad of the Indian Premier League (IPL). After four consecutive losses they came back remarkably to win six matches on the trot, stunning some stronger contenders as they looked like making a dash towards the semifinals. Their turnaround was scripted by ageing warhorses, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Shaun Pollock, all three of them proving that T20 is not just a young man's sport.

Mumbai have also seen the ugly side of it. After the stutter in the initial part of the tournament, Mumbai got back to losing ways, with Monday night's last-ball loss to Jaipur being their third successive defeat. All three of them were close finishes and have put them in a dicey situation, to escape from where they have to seek favours from others. In the event of Chennai defeating Hyderabad on Tuesday night, the Bangalore-Mumbai tie (starting at 4 pm) will be of academic interest only.

Despite Bangalore being a weak side, the visitors may find it tough. Bangalore are on a high of late, having scored two back-to-back wins against the other two South Indian teams. Rahul Dravid's men are capable of upsetting any team.

The Bangalore players have won man-of-the-match awards in their three previous outings --- Shreevats Goswami (against Delhi in a losing cause), bowlers Anil Kumble and R Vinay Kumar, and that is a good sign.

Despite the late surge, Bangalore have been disappointing. Only one of their four victories has come on the home turf. And that seems to have affected the owners' confidence. This was evident from the billboard just outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Until a couple of days ago, it said "Born in Bangalore, to thrill the nation" and displayed team members walking in a line with their owner, Vijay Mallya. But on Tuesday the billboard was replaced by others where the owners displayed their association with the winners, Delhi, Chennai and Jaipur.

Interestingly, three of the Bangalore lads figure in the Mumbai team, of which Robin Uthappa will be singled out by his Ranji teammates. Though Uthappa is the second-highest run-getter for Mumbai behind Jayasuriya, he has not delivered when it mattered the most.

Mumbai also have a large pool of local players who have been tried. Some have clicked while others have not. On the other hand, Bangalore have tried various things that seem to be clicking in the final stages.

Bangalore must be wondering if the IPL is ending too early for them!

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