Yorkshire vie for piece of Indian pudding
Match factsOctober 18, 2012
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)
Big PictureTeams from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have already humbled their illustrious IPL rivals, and that could be the inspiration Yorkshire - the only English team in the competition - need to score another upset when they take on the blue and flashy-gold festooned Mumbai Indians. At stake are first points for both teams and a chance to stay close to the two table toppers - Sydney Sixers and Lions.
Yorkshire, the runners up from England's T20 competition, came into the main group stage the hard way, unlike the No. 4 IPL side, scoring solid wins over Uva Next and Trinidad & Tobago, before being blown away by the Sydney Sixers pace attack in their first group match. Mumbai Indians do not pose a threat with their bowling in these conditions, except perhaps through Lasith Malinga, who the batsmen will need to be careful against. Yorkshire don't posses any internationally known batsmen, but as Gary Ballance showed against T&T, they do have the skill to surprise any team. They have lost their big name - the South African David Miller - to first-class commitments, so a lot will also depend on Joe Root, who hasn't fired in the tournament yet, to give Ballance support.
The fate of the match could be determined by how Mumbai's strong batting performs. They have innings-builders and big-hitters all the way down to No. 8. In their last game, the tactic to send Mitchell Johnson up the order backfired but the rest of the batsmen still put up a competitive 157 on the board. Sachin Tendulkar scored a scratchy 24-ball 16 and would be desperate for some runs to ward-off the cloud of criticism that has engulfed him lately and push Mumbai Indians to a safer position.
Watch out for...
The experienced Ryan Sidebottom is the leader of the Yorkshire bowling attack and he showed his worth in the crucial qualifying match against T&T in which he picked up three wickets for 13. Knowing that Mumbai Indians struggled against the left-arm bowlers - Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir - in the last match, his form will be crucial. Sidebottom still bowls with pace and his accurate yorkers can test the best.
Harbhajan Singh had a bad start to the tournament. Not only did he appear short of ideas when Quinton de Kock and Neil McKenzie took control in the previous match, but his insipid bowling was dealt with easily. Harbhajan, though, led Mumbai Indians to the Champions League title last year with some fighting performances and his resurgence will be crucial if Mumbai want to impose themselves with the ball.
Stats and trivia
- Sachin Tendulkar's strike-rate of 119.70 for Mumbai Indians is the second-lowest in their top-order, above only Dinesh Karthik's 115.76. But Tendulkar is the only batsman to score more than 2000 runs for the team.
Quotes"It's good for cricket. The Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are dominant when they play in their home conditions. Having a tournament here gives a chance to everyone and there are no favourites."
Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh says the tournament being played in South Africa gives the teams a level playing field
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo