Openers haven't done the job - Ponting
Ricky Ponting has said his and Sachin Tendulkar's low returns for Mumbai Indians have affected the team's batting in the tournament. The openers have put together two half-century stands, but thrice the team has lost its first wicket in the first over. Ponting has scored 52 runs in five innings and Tendulkar 69. Asked about Tendulkar's batting form, Ponting said it has been "no different than mine".
Mumbai Indians made another false start against Rajasthan Royals in a chase of 180 as the openers were out early - Tendulkar in the first over and Ponting in the third - to offspinner Ajit Chandila.
"The two guys at the top of the order haven't done the job required off them by the team," Ponting said. "We are five games into the tournament; both of us need to play better. If we want to continue winning games and if we want to be the team at the end of it that holds the trophy up, then you need everyone in the team performing more often than not. Neither of us has played as well as we would have liked. I'd expect a lot from myself from the first few games compared to what I have delivered."
Royals, led by an unbeaten half-century by Ajinkya Rahane, put up a challenging total, but Mumbai Indians' innings fizzled early as Royals took the pace off the ball with the use of spinners and medium-pacers. At 61 for 5 in the 13th over, they had lost all their in-form batsmen. Ponting, however, didn't blame the pitch.
"The wicket was good, as you can see by the first innings of the game," he said. "It is fair to say that the wicket did a little bit in the second innings, but it always looks that way when the batting is under pressure. So we can't blame the conditions."
Ponting also added that the team could make some changes now. "We will think about mixing and matching, reorder a bit. I talked to the coaches before this game about making sure our guys in the middle order get a fair bit of batting early in the tournament, because guys like Rayudu haven't had much of batting yet."
Royals' offspinner Chandila, who took a hat-trick last season, opened the bowling and was instrumental in putting early pressure with the wickets of Tendulkar and Ponting. He said the wickets were like a "dream come to true" for him.
"Taking the wickets of two legends of the game is like a double hat-trick for me, " Chandila told IPLT20.com. "I still cannot believe this has happened, I feel I am in some sort of dream. I just cannot express how I feel. My hands and feet are cold at the moment. As a bowler, I cannot ask for anything more.
"Rahul Dravid sir is like God for me. He just placed his hands on my head before the first over and said, 'Ajit, you will bowl well. Just be confident when you are bowling and the rest will take care of itself.' Those words were in my head as I went to bowl."