T20 2018: It's time Mumbai brought back burly Kieron Pollard
Big-hitting West Indian must come before JP Duminy in last two crucial games
Mumbai' Kieron Pollard during his 21 not out against Rajasthan in Jaipur last month. Pic/AFP
Rajasthan showed tremendous hunger and desire in beating an under-par Mumbai side to keep their hopes alive in T20 on Sunday. Ajinkya Rahane's captaincy and usage of his bowlers was great to see and it just shows that there is room for strategy in the shortest format. Rahane used his understanding of the Wankhede pitch shrewdly by using Jaydev Unadkat and Jofra Archer in the middle overs to choke Mumbai. Rahane saw couple of balls from Dhawal Kulkarni bouncing a bit more than normal and of course corrected his strategy to such an extent that both his spinners, Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal did not need to complete their quota of overs.
To me, this was the masterstroke. Under immense pressure, Archer and Unadkat delivered to perfection. Archer has a good bowling mind to add to his tremendous natural ability. Buttler delivered in style As their bowlers set things up, Jos Buttler delivered and in style. Jos the Boss — as is trending on social media, hammered Mumbai physically and I'm afraid, mentally too. His third 80-plus score and fifth consecutive half century must have had Rajasthan shaking their heads as to why they did not open with him earlier. Buttler sensed Mumbai's anxiety and pounced on them with glee to take his team home with 12 balls to spare.
Mumbai on the other hand, had a forgettable match. From being 86 for no loss in 10 overs to not being able to score 100 of their remaining 10 just goes to show how brilliantly Rajasthan bowled and fielded. To me, even in that 87-run partnership (between Evin Lewis and Suryakumar Yadav), they were on the slower side, and definitely would be thinking that they could have scored 10 to 15 more in those first 10 overs. Also, Krunal Pandya, their crucial flywheel in the batting department, did not click this time. Mumbai need to go all out now and must play Kieron Pollard ahead of JP Duminy while retaining Ben Cutting.
To Mumbai's chagrin, Mitchell McCleneghan was also soft to start with, conceding two quick boundaries to Rahane. Mayank will learn with time Mayank Markande also did not bowl like he did in the previous games, but this was a pressure match and he will only improve from such experiences. His length was off from the start, and because of this, he tended to put the ball there instead of "bowling" it there. For me, the surprise was that after seeing Rajasthan succeed with a certain length (fast and good length) and line (into the body), there was not a single attempt by any of the fast bowlers to replicate that. For a team with such an array of greats in the backroom, this was disappointing to watch.
Jatin Paranjape, the former international and national selector, tweets @jats72
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