U Mumba are one of the most consistent teams in the history of the league and under the captaincy of Fazel Atrachali, they have again made it to the playoffs this season. In the eliminator clash, they will take on Haryana Steelers on Monday and will want to get a win to book a place in the semis.
Why will they win
Their skipper is their biggest strength. Fazel Atrachali is one of the best corners in the world at the moment and the Iranian, after failing out in the last edition, will definitely want his players to lay their hands on the coveted title on Saturday. With some amazing ankle holds and back holds in the season, Atrachali was the best defender of the league stage with a total of 78 points to his name. He has also led his team really well and has a very good understanding with all his players and the two coaches. With his strength and muscle power, he can stop any of the world’s best raiders at the moment. Mumba’s first target will be Haryana and the Iranian must be eyeing players like Vikash Kandola and Vinay to venture deep into his territory and get caught to make it easy for the team from the Financial Capital of the country. He forms a great corner combination with another experienced man in Sandeep Narwal at the right. The duo of Atrachali and Sandeep makes Mumba a strong defensive unit and defence is their biggest strength this season.
Meanwhile, that doesn’t mean that the raiders can’t have a say in Mumba’s game. Abhishek Singh and Arjun Deshwal’s form will be important for the Sanjeev Baliyan-coached side to clinch the trophy. Deshwal was injured and missed out a few games as well but he put up an impressive performance in their last league game, which was his comeback match as well, against Dabang Delhi. Abhishek, on the other hand, has turned up as the primary raider for Mumba and his success is a big positive for U Mumba going into the playoffs. On the final day of the league phase, Abhishek was also brilliant in the raiding department as he scored a super 10.
Why they might not
Handling defenders like Surinder Singh and Sandeep Narwal will be a huge headache both for the skipper and the coach in pressure matches. The right cover and the right corner are very erratic in the defence which have cost U Mumba in some close matches this season as well. Both of them try for advance tackles and despite the experience, both have struggled big time in the league only because of their advance tackle attempts during the league games. Another major issue for Sanjeev Baliyan will be the left cover position in the defence. They have tried out Harendra Kumar and Young Chang Ko for that position while both haven’t been that effective in the defence which will increase the pressure on skipper Atrachali. In total, over-dependence on Atrachali might be a reason if they fail to go ahead in the playoffs and clinch the title.
Again, in the raiding department, both Abhishek and Deshwal are too young and inexperienced to handle the pressure of the knockout games. As they are the two main raiders and the Mumba think tank has kept on experimenting with Athul MS and Rohit Baliyan as the other options, Abhishek and Deshwal need to be very clear in their mind and will have to be careful enough considering the knockouts. Mumba’s chances of not winning the title diminish considering the lack of experience in their raiding department for crucial moments in high-pressure games.