Success breeds confidence. Confidence begets more success.
This has been the story of Mumbai Indians' first-half campaign in DLF-IPL III which reached the halfway mark (30 games) at the conclusion of the Kolkata Knight Riders-Deccan Chargers clash on Thursday.
In the previous two editions, Mumbai Indians was at the wrong end of many close encounters and failed to reach the semifinals. Diligent planning and delightful execution has caused this remarkable turnaround. After surviving Yusuf Pathan's blitzkrieg in its first encounter, the Mumbai Express has chugged on merrily except for the minor blip against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It has clearly been the most entertaining and enterprising side in this edition.
It's been a collective effort all the way with every player contributing to the team's cause. Skipper Sachin Tendulkar has led by example with the bat (314 runs in seven games) and led with imagination on the field. Be it in introducing Harbhajan Singh early to stun Chennai Super Kings' Matthew Hayden or holding back Lasith Malinga for the key overs, Tendulkar has been on the ball.
Tendulkar has also shuffled his batting order depending on the situation and the opponent. His faith in opener Shikhar Dhawan has been amply rewarded as the Delhi player has come up with a couple of crucial knocks like the one against Super Kings when chasing a stiff target of 181.
He has firmly supported Saurabh Tiwary, who has been a revelation with his long mane and longer hits.
Tendulkar's confidence in Tamil Nadu youngster R. Sathish has seen the latter chip in as a batsman and a fielder (his run out of Yusuf proved crucial against Royals).
That Mumbai Indians has managed to be so dominant despite its costliest acquisition, Kieron Pollard, and talented all-rounder Dwayne Bravo having a quiet time so far is something that could unnerve the other sides.
If the two West Indians join the party, Mumbai Indians would definitely be a top contender for the crown.
Mumbai Indians' biggest triumph so far this year has been the joy it has brought to its ever-present, ever-smiling owner Nita Ambani and to millions of Tendulkar fans.