Adam Gilchrist’s team has the talent and firepower to spring a surprise
Fortunes have swung dramatically in Mumbai Indians’ favour in the last few days of the Pepsi-IPL-VI.
Two wins on the trot against fancied teams — defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore — has placed it fourth in the nine-team table.
Its resounding victory over RCB on Saturday was a clear indication of its determination to get into the act quickly in pursuit of a play-off berth.
Mumbai Indians is now all geared up to tackle a tricky customer here on Monday in Kings XI Punjab which enjoys a 6-4 record. On current form the home team should start as the favourite, but Adam Gilchrist’s team has the talent and firepower to spring a surprise.
MI’s 10 points have come from the strategic deployment of the explosive West Indian stalwarts Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard at the opening and middle-order slots.
These two have already made a telling impact and walked away with three Man-of-the-match awards together.
Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma have also demonstrated steel in their nerves, played an array of shots and made vital contributions to the team’s success.
While the likes of Pollard, Smith, Sharma and Karthik have been the side’s backbone, a brilliant catch by Ambati Rayudu against RCB showed why MI is a solid fielding side.
It was Rayudu’s well-judged catch without tripping over the line at deep mid-wicket that resulted in Chris Gayle being removed from the scene.
It is on such wonderful deeds being repeated that MI will rely to come up trumps.
KXIP captain Gilchrist is a seasoned campaigner and has happy memories of a rollicking century he scored against MI at the DYP Stadium in 2008, but well into his 42nd year, the left-hander is clearly a far cry from the days he used to destroy bowling of all variety.
Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, David Hussey and David Miller have been at times useful with the bat, but with only two half-century efforts from Mandeep and Miller in eight matches, KXIP will need to hit the big blows to compete against a team that played in fifth gear on Saturday night.