Defending champs MI just a few decimal points away from hitting rock bottom

Mumbai Indians' Hardik Pandya bat slips from his hand against Royal Challengers Bangalore during the IPL 2018 cricket match at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Photo: PTI
It is just like music. We listen to a song, fall in love with the lyrics, the music, the variation in pitch and we end up playing the song in a loop until we get bored of it. For Mumbai Indians, however, the loop is never-ending. They start the match like true defending champions, give all they have to intimidate the opposition, somewhere in the middle of the match, they start losing the plot, opposition gains the upper-hand and by the end of the match, Mumbai Indians gift two points to the opposing team. This is a loop and MI is not getting bored of it. 

In the 31st match of the VIVO Indian Premier League 2018, Royal Challengers Banglore were up against Mumbai Indians, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The wicket was a turner, hence MI captain won the toss and decided to field first.Turns out, toss was the only thing MI could manage to win.

Virat Kohli promoted Manan Vohra to open with Quinton De Kock. It was a surprise move as either Virat or Brendon McCullum was expected to open the innings. MI had an answer to it. JP Duminy was given the ball to spin Virat's move in MI's favour. Vohra made a mockery of this tactical move. Duminy got hammered in his first over and then Rohit decided to extend the pain asked him to bowl another one. The result was same and Rohit Sharma has a big question mark on his face. Indian batsmen are by default good players of spin bowling. This is a basic thing that everyone knows except, it seems, Rohit Sharma. 

Even as wickets tumbled for RCB, Rohit had no plans for how to contain the runs. Mayank Markande has been a successful spinner for MI, who picks up wickets and puts a stop on run flow. Someone needs to inform Rohit Sharma about this. He did not give Markande the full quota of his over on a wicket that was turning more than 3 degrees on an average. What as Rohit Sharma thinking? 

RCB was at 143-7 in 18.5 overs. And guess what, Rohit Sharma came up with a genius idea to gift freebies to RCB. As stated earlier, Indian batsmen are good players of spin. Likewise, overseas players are by default good players of pace bowling. Colin de Grandhomme had just come to the crease and Rohit asked Mitchell McClenaghan, a pacer, to bowl the final over. The pacer leaked 24 runs. His bowling has no strategy and discipline. He got smashed all over the park and RCB ended up with a respectable score of 167-7.

Chasing the modest target, Ishan Kishan was clean bowled by a stunning delivery by Tim Southee in the very first over. Evin Lewis was not playing for Mumbai and the team clearly missed him. Mumbai Indians lacked the fire-power from the top, something that RCB had in Manan Vohra. JP Duminy faced too many deliveries and did not score as many runs as he would have liked. His slow-paced innings cost the team.  

Rohit Sharma successfully scored a golden duck yet again. Umesh Yadav bowled a short pitch ball and God knows why he tries to come in the line of the ball. He was caught behind. He failed as a captain and a player. He did not score when the team needed him and this has been the constant feature with him in this tournament. The man lacks self-confidence. He is not taking responsibility and leading team from the front. 

Another pertinent question - why is Kieron Pollard still in the team? He has scored 76 runs till now with a strike rate marginally above 103. He is a consistent non-performer and a liability for the team. The MI team management needs to do some serious thinking about his place in the team. Ben Cutting should have been sent ahead of him and it could have turned the game on its head. A huge captaincy failure on Rohit's part. 

The death bowling of RCB was brilliant, unlike MI. Mumbai had too many to score with batsmen who laked class to handle the pressure. Hardik and Krunal failed to deliver it for them. With this defeat, MI is on the verge of an exit from the tournament. 

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