Indian Premier League outfit Mumbai Indians kicked off their campaign with a disappointing defeat against newcomers Rising Pune Supergiants.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma had won the toss and elected to bat first. MI posted an average total of 121 runs for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs. Rising Pune Supergiants chased down the total, scoring 126 runs for the loss of one wicket in 14.4 overs. RPS led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked very comfortable from the word go. On the other hand, MI who are the defending champions looked vulnerable and seemed to be lacking a certain ‘X-factor’ which is considered necessary in the IPL.
Harbhajan Singh was the only standout performer for MI with his brilliant unbeaten knock of 45 runs off 30 deliveries. He hit seven boundaries and smashed one six while operating at a strike rate of 150. The 35-year-old from Jalandhar also managed to take MI’s sole wicket when he dismissed Faf du Plessis in the fourth delivery of the tenth over, he operated at an economy rate of 8.00.
The four foreign players were shambolic to say the least as they collectively managed 11 runs off 20 balls. Windies batsman Lendl Simmons looked promising but departed early scoring only eight runs. Englishman Jos Buttler had a debut to forget as the wicket-keeper batsman was dismissed for a duck. Windies allrounder Kieron Pollard who missed the recently concluded World Twenty20 due to an injury managed to score only one run before heading back to the pavilion. New Zealand pacer Mitchell McClenaghan had to come out and bat in the death overs as MI faced a crisis against the RPS, he was unconvincing with the ball as he operated at an economy rate of 9.00.
Overall, Ricky Pointing, Jonty Rhodes and Shane Bond will be disappointed with MI’s opening encounter. Mumbai crowd at Wankhede stadium never stopped their chants but it certainly was not enough to see their team through after a dismal performance. MI mentor Sachin Tendulkar was also visibly not content with the team’s performance. Change is the only constant, and change they must, in terms of their performance. MI looked nothing like their usual self, Rohit and company must address their issues and deal with all their problems in order to bounce back. They still remain title contenders but they will need to take responsibility of the current situation and act accordingly. Sri Lankan talisman Lasith Malinga is injured, MI was hoping to have him back in their lineup but unfortunately his comeback seems off the grid at the moment.
Indian youngsters Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya who were ever present for India in the recently concluded World T20 were unable to carry on their performance.
New Zealand’s Tim Southee and Corey Anderson will be hoping to contribute soon, and with such poor display, it looks like they will get their opportunities sooner than later. Foreign players must play their part as they bring in a lot of experience to the team without which winning certainly is difficult. But saying so, MI certainly needs that ‘X-factor’ either from their domestic bunch or from their foreign recruits, and soon.