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IPL 2018 | Talking Points: Mumbai Indians’ amazing bench strength and the lack of a proper third pacer

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IPL 2018 | Talking Points: Mumbai Indians’ amazing bench strength and the lack of a proper third pacer

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Bastab K Parida


Jason Roy and Rishabh Pant piled more misery onto Mumbai Indians’ woes as the duo led the run chase with absolute aplomb to take Delhi Daredevils to a three-wicket victory. However, it was Mumbai’s amazing domestic player pool that grabbed the attention of anyone watching this high-scoring game.

Mumbai’s scouting talents come to the fore

Every team in the IPL works hard to meet their own demand and supply chart before heading into an auction and racks their brain hard to find the perfect options for various roles with as low amount as possible. And in that count, Mumbai Indians have been the team to take data analysis and scouting to the next level and the team’s domestic stars’ performance, over the years, just underlines that fact. In addition to that, the trust on domestic players to deliver at the crucial stages of the game has made Mumbai a formidable force to be reckoned with and there won’t be a better date than today to explain the phenomenon.

While letting Nitish Rana go for Kolkata Knight Riders, the three-time Champions knew that they needed to find a smart replacement for the Delhi boy, and subsequently, they went for Suryakumar Yadav, a proven campaigner for KKR and most importantly, a local boy. Yadav knows a thing or two about Wankhede Stadium, having played all his life at the iconic turf. That was in full view today as after being promoted to bat as an opener, he unleashed the fireworks right from get-go to give Mumbai a dream start. 

After a 102-run partnership with Evin Lewis, 20-year-old Ishan Kishan - a product of Dravid’s Under-19 set-up -  took on the Delhi bowlers with absolute ease to set the team a perfect platform for a huge total. On a day when most of the recognized batsmen struggled to time the ball, it was the duo - two fringe players - who guided the team to a big score of 194. Had it not been for the team’s middle-over mess-up, their contribution would have been highlighted more. 

Mumbai’s third pacer conundrum

When Mumbai started their campaign, their main problem was the lack of a stand-out spin option in the team. But, after two matches to the league, everyone forgot about that, courtesy Mayank Markande, who proved too good for the opposition batsmen. While his emergence managed to successfully put that debate to rest, the way Mumbai lost both their matches - by one wicket in the dying moments while defending totals - brought another question to the fore. 

While defending 165 in the first match, Mumbai had reduced CSK to 119 for 8 after 17 overs and the visitors needed to score another 47 runs, with two wickets remaining. Only Jasprit Bumrah, Mustafizur Rahman, and Mitchell McClenaghan were left with one over each as Hardik Pandya and Markande had already been bowled out. But Rohit went for McClenaghan in the 18th over and Bravo slammed 19 runs to bring the equation down to a more gettable 27 from 12 and rest, as they say, is history. The same was repeated in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai lost the game by one wicket and in both the matches, it was the lack of a proper third pacer in the team that brought about their downfall.

Today, Mumbai needed Hardik Pandya to fire after sending Ben Cutting to the bench, but the pacer conceded 32 runs in the first two overs to give Delhi the momentum they needed. He was not that effective with the bat as well and now with Pat Cummins out of the scheme of things, the team will have a lot of thinking to do ahead of the next encounter.

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