Mumbai's opening woes
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.
|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|
|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