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Mumbai Indians starting problems

Mumbai Indians’ opening woes continue to haunt them in the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL). In the last season, MI made several changes at the top, but couldn’t zero in on a particular combination.


Mumbai Indians’ Sachin Tendulkar during practice at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble.

This season, sparkling starts were expected when Ricky Ponting opened the innings with Sachin Tendulkar. However, even the combination of batting legends hasn’t helped MI find a solution.

Mumbai Indians would hope to address their opening issue when they take on a relatively weaker opponent Pune Warriors India, the maiden Maharashtra derby clash of the competition at the Wankhede Stadium today. Out of four games, MI have won three while their only loss came in the last edition at the same venue.


Mumbai Indians’ Ricky Ponting during practice at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble.

Apart from the 52-run stand in their opening game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 4, Tendulkar-Ponting duo have been a big let-down in their last two games. Against Chennai Super Kings, the opening pair could manage only three runs.

In their last match against Delhi, Ponting was back in the dugout even before the team opened its account. The slow starts by the opening pair are also a concern. On the last two occasions, Dinesh Karthik revived the team’s fortunes. He played blinder of an innings against Delhi to help MI post 209 for the first time in the tournament this season.

Pune are well aware of the importance of a good start. Tweaking the batting combination seemed to have done the trick for Pune with openers Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa sealing the fate against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday to end their 11-match losing streak.

When batsmen are in attacking mode, Mumbai Indians pacer Mitchell Johnson said it was a matter of patience. “Anyone on their given day can go out and blast runs very quickly. It’s just how you cope. For me, it’s just trying to slow the game down because as a bowler, you can get a bit frustrated at times, start rushing back to your mark and want to bowl as quickly as possible. It’s just taking that little bit longer to get back to your mark and just thinking about the game a bit more. Sometimes in those situations, when the batsmen are going after you, you feel you’ve to rush through everything. I think taking your time is what works,” he said.

Ponting’s wishlist

. He and Tendulkar provide a flying start
. He takes splendid catches
. Dinesh Karthik continues to impress
. Pune openers, Finch and Uthappa flop
. Lasith Malinga strikes early

Mathews’ wishlist

. Aaron Finch, Robin Uthappa score half-centuries
. Bhuvneshwar Kumar takes a fifier
. Yuvraj Singh shines with bat again
. Karthik, Kieron Pollard flop
. Malinga & Co bowl poorly

Live On TV: Mumbai Indians vs PWI on Set Max and Sony Six, 16:00

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