Mumbai Indians v Otago Volts, CLT20, Ahmedabad September 22, 2013

In-form Otago seek to trip up Mumbai Indians


Match facts

September 23, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Mumbai Indians, the IPL champions, appeared rusty against Rajasthan Royals on a juicy pitch in Jaipur and with only three more matches remaining in the group stage for them, they will need to find their groove immediately. There aren't any such problems for the team they face next. Otago Volts came to the tournament as virtual unknowns but, given their three dominating outings in the qualifiers, they are now the team to watch out for.

Otago came into the tournament well-prepared: they played four Twenty20 matches in eight days in Sri Lanka and won all of them. The effect of match practice was visible in the manner they destroyed Faisalabad Wolves in their first match and Kandurata Maroons in the second. Sunrisers Hyderabad were expected to offer a sterner test, but they too were bulldozed in the final qualifier. Brendon McCullum, the Otago captain, has been in red-hot form and his presence has made an already strong batting line-up appear intimidating. Hamish Rutherford was solid at the top and Jimmy Neesham appeared unfazed by the quality of spin. Add Ryan ten Doeschate's all-round brilliance and a balanced bowling attack to the mix and it becomes clear why the team has won their last 13 T20s.

However, Otago's success in the qualifiers came on a Mohali pitch which offered some help to their medium pacers. In Ahmedabad, on a batting pitch, against a team with batsmen who hit the ball long, the Otago bowling could come under pressure.

Mumbai Indians might have failed to put up a good total in their first match, but they do possess serious batting ability in their ranks and their bowling has enough venom to sting the best. But the two major changes - the absence of Lasith Malinga and the presence of Sachin Tendulkar - to their XI from the latter stages of the IPL, when they displayed their best form, and a lack of match practice are the areas Otago will seek to exploit.

Watch out for

The availability of Mitchell Johnson for Mumbai Indians last season relieved the team of the headache of planning the fast-bowling strategy solely around Lasith Malinga. Johnson was excellent with the new ball, picking up most of his 24 wickets in his first spell, which meant that Malinga was preserved for the death overs. In the first Champions League match against Royals, he did generate searing pace and was denied the vital wicket of Sanju Samson by the umpire, but he also went for 38 runs in his four-over spell. Mumbai Indians will hope Johnson takes on the wider role of leading the attack and makes an impression against McCullum & Co early on.

Twenty-three-year-old James Neesham doesn't yet have the stats to make him a sought after player in the T20 market, but his all-round abilities are sure to invite attention. He picked up two wickets in the first qualifier against Faisalabad Wolves, but then shone with two impressive outings with the bat in the next two matches. Against Kandurata Maroons, he formed a useful alliance with ten Doeschate at a stage where the Sri Lankan side was on the ascendency and stayed unbeaten till the end. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he was keen to take the legspinners on, lofting them for a couple of huge hits easily. Neesham's big test will start in the main draw.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    Twenty-three-year-old James Neesham doesn't yet have the stats to make him a sort after player in the T20 market. You meant 'Sought after'...right?

  • Android on September 23, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    we need match

  • o on September 23, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    If there isn't early wickets Pollard should come a place higher after last game as he looked to be in incredible touch even for him. I mean the way he was timing the ball was special that check drive for 6 shot of tournament so far for me !

  • Android on September 23, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Mumbai team too strong for otago voltes . expecting strong game from sachin polly and johnson. otago gonna be walk in park for ipl champions as they have number of world class players. sachin gonns sign off from limited over cricket with a massive showing.

  • Stephen on September 23, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    I attended all of OTAAAAGOOOO`s T20 matches at the Uni Oval last season. STOKED to see that they have retained the same rhythm in the CLT20. I`m drinking homebrew anti-freeze here in Motueka trying to swing the rain away from Ahmenabad by way of booziness and tough runt optimism! LETS PLAY ALREADY

  • ESPN on September 23, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    13 wins in a row!!!!!! Outstanding performance by Otago Volts... Comfortably qualified for Clt20... There will be a good match tonight... Best of luck Otago Volts.

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    3 IPL teams directly in to the CPL and Three Champs of Local Leagues to Play qualifiers, Wake me up when the World wakes and sees that money can buy everything

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    MI should replace Pragyan Ojha WITH Abu Nechim Ahmed and Counter Nile should be replaced by Maxwell.

  • James on September 23, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Otago plays as a team. Mumbai in the past tended to be a collection of individuals- though I must say that Rohit Sharma has changed that in last year's IPL. Very tough to predict a winner, but I may give Mumbai a slight edge because of familiarity with Indian conditions, and a few more match winners. Still, expect it to be very close.

  • Satesh on September 23, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    For all you bashing Sachin Tendulkar, watch out lil fellas. Last match Sachin didn't get much chance during powerplay and for what he got he looked very much comfortable hitting from the middle of the bat. It is gonna be a SRT spl tonight.

    Watch and learn what is cricket!