One of the reasons for Mumbai Indians taking more time than other Indian Premier League teams to figure out their winning combination is their theory of playing two foreign seamers and two foreign batsmen.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma hits one over the fence during his 44-ball 62 vs RCB at Wankhede on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Ricky Ponting have to carefully select their four overseas players, to keep this theory going, and that, in turn, has lead to an inconsistent batting lineup. However, fortunately for the defending champions, they seem to have worked out their winning combination early in the tournament this time, and the last two back-to-back wins is proof of this.
Although the win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday at the Wankhede Stadium was only their second in five matches, Rohit admitted he was particularly pleased to have finally cracked the code with respect to the team's batting order.
"As far as our batting is concerned it looks more settled with (Ambati) Rayudu batting at three and myself batting at the top of the order," Rohit said after leading MI to a six-wicket win over RCB with his crafty 62.
"That particular change (Rohit batting at No 4) was only taken for that particular game (against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday) because we wanted some experience in the middle. At the end of the day, everything boils down to the balance of the squad. Unfortunately for us, in last game we missed Pollard as he had food poisoning and we had to get someone in. We wanted Kieron Pollard to get back into form quickly and today was the perfect day for him," he said.
Foreign players theory
Rohit explained why the Mumbai Indians are so rigid with their overseas players' theory of two batters and two pacers. "That theory has worked for us over the years. The last game (at the Wankhede against Gujarat Lions) we almost won having only 140 to defend. People think it's a batsman's game, but I feel it's the bowlers who will put you in that position of winning games most of the time.
"So, we have always believed that two overseas bowlers will always be helpful on a wicket like Wankhede, where there is something for the bowlers initially. We saw that — (Tim) Southee was swinging the ball really well and Mitch (McClenaghan) got it to bounce. When you play five bowlers, as a captain you have the luxury of tinkering with your attack," added Rohit.