IPL 2014 May 6, 2014

Mumbai's opening woes

In six matches, Mumbai Indians have tried out four different opening combinations in their search for the perfect pair, but so far, the returns have only been diminishing

Michael Hussey-Aditya Tare, Rohit Sharma-Aditya Tare, Ben Dunk-Rohit Sharma, Ben Dunk-CM Gautam. In six matches so far, Mumbai Indians have tried out four different opening combinations in their search for the perfect pair. So far, the returns have only been diminishing - the opening partnerships, in chronological order, are 24, 20, 11, 10, 6, 6.

Till last year, Mumbai had one batsman who was a permanent fixture at the top of the order - Sachin Tendulkar. Out of the 78 innings he played for Mumbai Indians, 74 were as an opener, and while his strike rate of 119.66 wasn't outstanding, he scored 2227 runs at the top order at an average of 34.79, with one century and 13 fifties. His presence gave a solidity which Mumbai are searching for now.

Apart from Tendulkar, Mumbai have had a couple of successes at the top - Sanath Jayasuriya averaged 27.85 at a strike rate of 147 in 29 innings, while Dwayne Smith averaged 41.53 at a strike rate of 130 in 13 - but many more failures. Shikhar Dhawan and Tare are the two Indians who've got a fair number of opportunities at the top without making a success of it, but where Mumbai's failure rate has been alarming is in the number of overseas batsmen who've flopped as openers.

From Aiden Blizzard to Davy Jacobs to Richard Levi to Ricky Ponting to Luke Ronchi, Mumbai had tried several opening partners for Tendulkar in past seasons, but with little success. Hussey and Dunk are the latest in this line of failures, with Hussey's numbers being especially disappointing: he has scored 20 runs from 35 balls in three innings; for Chennai Super Kings, he opened 39 times and scored 12 fifties, averaging 43.70 at a strike rate of 122.

After six matches in IPL 2014, Mumbai's opening partnership stats are by far the worst among all teams - they're the only ones without at least one half-century stand, and the only ones to score at less than a run a ball. On Tuesday, they'll be up against a team whose opening partnerships haven't been a whole lot better this season, and at a venue which hasn't been particularly kind to opening partnerships in IPL history - the average opening stand at the Wankhede Stadium is 25.98, at a run rate of 7.2, which are both the lowest at grounds which have hosted at least 20 matches in the IPL.

Opening partnerships for each team in IPL 2014
Team Pairs Inngs Runs Ave stand Run rate 100s/ 50s
Chennai Super Kings 1 7 425 60.71 8.12 1/ 3
Delhi Daredevils 2 7 235 33.57 7.23 0/ 1
Kolkata Knight Riders 4 7 178 25.42 7.07 1/ 0
Kings XI Punjab 1 6 131 21.83 6.77 0/ 1
Rajasthan Royals 2 7 152 21.71 7.23 0/ 1
Sunrisers Hyderabad 1 6 125 20.83 7.65 0/ 1
Royal Challengers Bangalore 3 6 116 19.33 7.40 0/ 1
Mumbai Indians 4 6 77 12.83 5.37 0/ 0
IPL stats of openers who've flopped for MI (Qual: 5 inngs)
Batsman Innings Runs Average Strike rate 50+
Aditya Tare 10 196 19.60 125.64 0/ 1
Shikhar Dhawan 10 191 19.10 112.35 0/ 2
Aiden Blizzard 7 120 17.14 133.33 0/ 1
Davy Jacobs 7 92 13.14 93.87 0/ 0
James Franklin 6 134 22.33 112.60 0/ 1
Richard Levi 6 83 13.83 113.69 0/ 1
Ricky Ponting 5 52 10.40 69.33 0/ 0
Luke Ronchi 5 34 6.80 100.00 0/ 0

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rally_Windies on May 13, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    WOW those are Dwayne Smith's opening stats?

    And even at the bottom,, he was an amazing finisher for MI !

    And he is a useful 5th or 6th bowler, if one of your top guys is getting stick DS can take an over or 2,

    And it was not like Dwayne Smith was expensive at the auction...

    Chenai picked up Smith and Badree in the auction for next to nothing .....

    We keep saying how poorly MI did in the Auction ..

    But conversely, Chenai did quite well ..

  • on May 7, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    I don't see Tare doing that bad job. Hussey failed to make an impression from one side and even middle order of MI did not click in first 4 games. MI still needs one confidant batsman at top and i feel Rohit-Dunk duo can do better job as openers with Gautam, Rayudu in middle order and Pollard, tare as finishers.

  • Rally_Windies on May 13, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    WOW those are Dwayne Smith's opening stats?

    And even at the bottom,, he was an amazing finisher for MI !

    And he is a useful 5th or 6th bowler, if one of your top guys is getting stick DS can take an over or 2,

    And it was not like Dwayne Smith was expensive at the auction...

    Chenai picked up Smith and Badree in the auction for next to nothing .....

    We keep saying how poorly MI did in the Auction ..

    But conversely, Chenai did quite well ..

  • on May 7, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    I don't see Tare doing that bad job. Hussey failed to make an impression from one side and even middle order of MI did not click in first 4 games. MI still needs one confidant batsman at top and i feel Rohit-Dunk duo can do better job as openers with Gautam, Rayudu in middle order and Pollard, tare as finishers.

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  • on May 7, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    I don't see Tare doing that bad job. Hussey failed to make an impression from one side and even middle order of MI did not click in first 4 games. MI still needs one confidant batsman at top and i feel Rohit-Dunk duo can do better job as openers with Gautam, Rayudu in middle order and Pollard, tare as finishers.

  • Rally_Windies on May 13, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    WOW those are Dwayne Smith's opening stats?

    And even at the bottom,, he was an amazing finisher for MI !

    And he is a useful 5th or 6th bowler, if one of your top guys is getting stick DS can take an over or 2,

    And it was not like Dwayne Smith was expensive at the auction...

    Chenai picked up Smith and Badree in the auction for next to nothing .....

    We keep saying how poorly MI did in the Auction ..

    But conversely, Chenai did quite well ..