Mumbai Indians Can Handle Superman

Shane Warne is mining heroes by the truckloads in Rajasthan. Keeping count of the match winners in the state is becoming increasingly difficult. On a day when it seemed that Shane Warne had ‘run out’ of all his aces, the Royals unearthed another champ who grabbed his singular chance to perform with both hands.

Welcome to the Shane Warne show of unending magic tricks. The latest act – Niraj Patel delivered what could be called a killer blow to the semi-final hopes of Mumbai Indians. Shane Watson has all the physical attributes to play Superman on screen. His performance in the IPL has also been like that of a Superman who has won games with bat or ball depending on the need of the hour. Last night, Superman was reduced to a mortal being in both innings of the game.
But he can afford to do that when he has the full assortment of super heroes for company.

Speaking of blows, the partnership was reminiscent of Mohammed Ali’s ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ boxing style which was airing on ESPN. I switched over to watch Ali box when Patel and Jadeja were in the midst of their initial struggle. Just like the two of them, Ali did little in the beginning. After watching Ali absorb punches and give his opponent a false sense of victory for a while on ESPN, I switched back to Set Max and watched Patel and Jadeja make an Ali-esque comeback and sting Mumbai like a bee.

Mumbai have every reason to feel gutted. Just like the Punjab game, this one was in the bag with RR needing 43 off 18 on a wicket which had been low-scoring. They were numerous ‘only-ifs’ associated with the last ball and Mumbai will need all the strength of will and character to pick themselves up in time for the next game. All the experience of the Mumbai team accounted for nothing. In the heat of the battle – a pair of greenhorns came through while the ‘wily’ veterans floundered. The ‘think tank’ (Sachin and Sanath) erred by bowling Raje; especially when Jayasuriya and Dwayne Smith were available. They should have remembered Dhawal Kulkarni’s 15 run over which tilted the balance in Delhi’s’ favour in the last game. And I haven’t mentioned Jayasuriya’s missed run-out chance off the last ball

Wicket-keepers have never had it as good as they have in the IPL….with the bat that is! Almost every team has had a match winning batting performance from their stumpers. Last night, the Mumbai Indians and Yogesh Takawale almost joined the list which currently has KKR (Brendan McCullum), RCB(Mark Boucher), CSK (MS Dhoni), DD( Dinesh Karthik), KXP( Sangakkara), DC ( Gilchrist) and RR ( Kamran Akmal). Mumbai’s entry based on Takawale’s cameo seemed to be such a ‘destined’ thing, atleast until the point when we learned how things unfolded.

Teams have been happy to have one decent opening pair. Rajasthan have four quality openers who can combine to form 6 different opening pairs. The captain can randomly select two guys from the likes of Smith, Asnodkar, Pathan and Kamran Akmal and count on them to get the team off on a flier.

Avnish Anand

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