Having regained the winning momentum with a superb display against Kolkata Knight Riders two days ago, Sachin Tendulkar-inspired Mumbai Indians are holding all top cards in the deck going into their fifth Indian Premier League match against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday.
With in-form Tendulkar leading from the front in batting and the home team’s bowling looking potent with two other top Indian stars Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh spearheading it, they appear to carry too many guns for the liking of the struggling visitors.
Tendulkar’s two masterly half-centuries towards winning causes – against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla and at the Brabourne Stadium here on Monday – have shown very clearly that he holds the key in batting for Mumbai Indians.
The big thing about the hosts’ display thus far has been the fact that their foreign recruits have been just support actors in the MI batting order with youngsters like Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu rising up to the challenge splendidly to give excellent support to their captain’s endeavour.
The trio’s superb display thus far has ensured MI keep its foot on the accelerator in the race to reach the semifinal despite the poor form of Sanath Jayasuriya, who had to be omitted in their previous clash and replaced with Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order.
West Indians Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have threatened to break loose after joining the Mumbai franchise at the conclusion of their international engagements at home, but have not really set the Brabourne Stadium on fire yet.
With Zaheer and Harbhajan doing their jobs well along with Sri Lanka’s sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga, who has been brilliant at the fag end of the innings, MI have managed to forge a good bowling combination too to keep the opposition run-rate within manageable proportions.
The fielding has been a bit inconsistent even with South African fielding expert Jonty Rhodes in the support staff but this has not so far denied them victory where they deserved it.
MI are in second position just behind leaders Royal Challengers Bangalore in the table with six points from four ties, their lone defeat significantly coming against the latter.
They would be eager to maintain their running start in the cash-rich League and book the last-four berth at the earliest. The hosts are also fortunate to have avoided traveling outside for their matches after returning from Delhi.