Mumbai seek better strategy against South Australia
Mumbai have everything that it may take to become a top Twenty20 side, yet in three years they have no silverware to show for their efforts. The game against South Australia could be the first step towards correcting that
Mumbai v South Australia, Tuesday, September 14
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)
Mumbai Indians seem to have everything a team might need to become the best club side in the world. They have Sachin Tendulkar at the top, who has taken Twenty20 batting to a new risk-free plane. They have talented Indian domestic batsmen in the middle. They have Lasith Malinga, perhaps the best bowler in the format, to go with Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan, who more than hold their own against international sides, leave alone club teams. Their owners are one of the richest families in India, and they have spent merrily in acquiring the services of Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and JP Duminy among others.
Still they are neither the IPL champions nor have they got off to a good start in the Champions League, losing to the Lions, a team whose collective fame and earnings pale in comparison to Pollard's from one IPL season. From their last two matches, Mumbai will know they can do with better captaincy and pre-match strategy. In the IPL final, Pollard was given just three overs to win a match. They have been almost apologetic in using their rich resources. In the Champions League opener, neither Malinga nor Zaheer opened the bowling. Why not hit some helmets and break some toes straight up? Despite the presence of five specialist bowlers in the side, the part-timers bowled four overs for 49 runs.
Now Mumbai are up against a side that has won a match based on a captain's solo. Michael Klinger, a Victorian, moved to South Australia two seasons ago, didn't play a single Twenty20 for them last season, but walked into the Champions League side as captain. Their first match showed why. While the rest of the top order struggled, Klinger got a golden bat emblazoned on his cap, a rather subtle recognition for the tournament's highest scorer at the time, breaking away from the IPL's honourable tradition of gaudy caps.
Tendulkar nearly did a similar solo in the first game, but in a team of Mumbai's quality he shouldn't be required to do solos, only better strategy shall do.
A niggle to Saurabh Tiwary cost Mumbai some firepower in the middle order, and they will be hoping he is fit to play. They also need to realise that Dwayne Bravo is a better, classier, more valuable cricketer than Pollard, and they can't afford to keep benching him. Not when their fourth overseas player, Ryan McLaren, is bowled for just one over and has hardly any role with the bat. Abhishek Nayar has been called up as cover for the injured Dhawal Kulkarni, but is unlikely to figure in the final XI even if he makes it in time.
South Australia would like to retain their winning combination.
South Australia Redbacks 1 Michael Klinger (capt.), 2 Daniel Harris, 3 Graham Manou (wk), 4 Tom Cooper, 5 Callum Ferguson, 6 Cameron Borgas, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Aaron O'Brien, 9 Shaun Tait, 10 Gary Putland, 11 Cullen Bailey
Watch out for ...
Kieron Pollard has played for so many teams it was inevitable he would come up against old mates one of these days. Good job that he plays a sport where who he is playing for is clearly defined. He is not at the risk of, say, instinctively passing the ball to the wrong team.
Callum Ferguson is back from his knee reconstruction, and his 27-ball 47 in South Australia's first game suggested he had never been away. Watch out for more improvisation from the man whose Australia limited-overs career was on its way when he got injured.
Shaun Tait v Lasith Malinga It will be a day to rejoice for the slingers of the world. Which of these round-arm hounds does better might just determine the course of the match.
Stats and trivia
Sachin Tendulkar has hit just 20 sixes in his 1437 runs. Among those who have crossed 1000 runs in the format, only Gautam Gambhir (20 sixes out of 1844) and Murray Goodwin (21 sixes out of 1671) have higher runs-to-sixes ratios.
Lasith Malinga has bowled 34 batsmen in his Twenty20 career. Only five men have found the stumps more often. Shaun Tait has 25 bowled victims.