If Mumbai Indians are to do well against Delhi Daredevils today, their attack can't be toothless
For Mumbai Indians to resurrect their hopes of qualifying for the Indian Premier League play-offs, it is important that the star-studded support staff look into the wayward bowling so far in the tournament.
Lasith Malinga bowls during MI's match against KXIP at Wankhede recently. Pic/Suresh KK
Although losing early wickets inside the powerplay has an issue for Rohit Sharma & Co, MI's bowlers failing to take wickets regularly and leaking runs seems to be their premier concern. Despite poor starts, Mumbai Indians' middle order has strived to put on competitive totals in the last five matches. However, the bowling has struggled to defend these totals.
Today's fixture against an inconsistent Delhi Daredevils outfit at the Feroz Shah Kotla is a good opportunity for MI to get their bowling department in order.
Against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 19 when MI registered their first win of IPL-8 after four consecutive losses, Virat Kohli & Co still managed to give them a scare (191-7 in 20 overs) despite the mighty target posted (209-7).
Barring veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (eight wickets from four matches conceding 129 runs), most other Mumbai bowlers are still struggling to find the right line and length. Take the example of Lasith Malinga. Known for bowling yorkers at will, the Sri Lankan pacer is finding it hard to get his toe-crushers right this season.
His variations too are being easily picked by batsmen, further hampering his bowling figures. Conceding 177 runs in 20 overs and claiming only five wickets is not the Malinga we know. Rohit recently said that MI are struggling to find the right combination which is why they are losing.
But in this quest of finding the right combinations, the MI skipper has somehow struggled to utilise his bowling resources to the fullest. The constant fidgeting with the playing XI has further dented MI's victory chances. Harbhajan and Malinga have been the only bowlers to have bowled regularly in every match and completed their full quota of four overs.
Star all-rounders Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard played in four and five matches respectively, but the Kiwi medium-pacer has bowled just four overs in two innings, while the big-hitting West Indian has rolled his arm over for only 3.4 overs.
Medium-pacer R Vinay Kumar figured in four matches for MI, but has bowled only 12.3 overs despite having the best economy rate (7.84) in the side. Newcomer Jagadeesha Suchith and Pawan Suyal have bowled 10 overs each in three matches.
Jasprit Bumrah, who is only the third MI bowler (of the 12 bowlers tested in five matches) to have more than one wicket, He was first called on to bowl in the opening clash against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 8, where he claimed 1-38 in three overs.
His services were utilised again in the last match against RCB, where he bowled four overs and claimed 1-39. The MI think-tank probably needs to show confidence and faith by backing their bowlers for a bit longer thereby helping them succeed in a secured environment.
Lasith Malinga's economy rate in five matches. The pacer conceded 177 in 20 overs