Suryakumar Yadav (R) and Tilak Varma (R) were setting up the chase nicely before a mix-up sent back Varma [Credits: IPL]
Fans and experts were left perplexed when Suryakumar Yadav didn’t walk out at his usual No. 4 spot. Mumbai Indians (MI) head coach Mahela Jayawardene reasoned that he wanted SKY to take the 199-run chase deep, while giving freedom to the newbies in the first 10 overs.
Youngsters Dewald Brevis (49 off 25) and Tilak Varma (36 off 20) almost vindicated the move with a counterattacking 84-run stand for the third wicket. But in the end, it proved too much for even Surya (43 off 30), who got out in the penultimate over to hand the Punjab Kings (PBKS) a 12-run win in Pune.
The MI chief stated that he didn’t want to expose Surya to the swinging ball, against which it would have been risky to play attacking cricket. He further added that they would be deploying a similar move in the coming games too.
“Today was to try and take the game deep, because we were playing with six batters. And there’s no better person than Surya to finish a game off. And in that situation, in the powerplay, they would swing the ball a bit and all that. So I didn’t want Surya to go into that situation and not be able to play his natural game also. It was just a tactical thing.”The two young guys, we know what they are capable of. So given them a bit of freedom to go and control that situation, so that Polly and Surya are able to chase that. That was the initial thinking. It’s a call that we will take depending on how we’ve set up tactically against certain oppositions and stuff like that,” Jayawardene said in response to a Sportskeeda question at the post-match press conference.
MI were cruising at one stage, with 68 required off 43 deliveries. But Varma’s unfortunate run-out helped the Punjab Kings wrest momentum and claw back into the game.
The five-time champions were stifled early, losing both openers – Rohit Sharma and (28 off 17) and Ishan Kishan (3 off 6) – inside the powerplay. The Indian captain has scored just 108 runs at an average of 21.8 in the season so far.
But Jayawardene doesn’t see that as a lean patch. Lauding Rohit’s timing of the ball and blazing starts, he backed the MI stalwart to come good.
“If you look at the way he starts, the way he hits the ball, it’s brilliant. He’s timing it, he’s getting some really, really good starts. Yes he’s disappointed as well, that he’s not being able to convert them. We’ve seen Ro batting deep, batting for 14-15 overs and getting those big scores. It’s just a matter of time. He’s a quality player and I am not concerned about the form as such,” the 44-year-old remarked.
MI have lost their fifth successive game this season, equalling the horror start of the 2014 edition. They remain rock bottom and have to get themselves up pretty quickly if they are to harbour hopes of making the playoffs. PBKS, on the other hand, have climbed to the third position with three wins in five games.
“We cannot hold that pressure” – Mahela Jayawardene highlights MI’s bowling woes
Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after castling Liam Livingstone with a searing yorker [Credits: IPL]
After being put into bat, skipper Mayank Agarwal (52 off 32) led by example in a blistering opening start with Shikhar Dhawan (70 off 50). The duo put on 97 runs inside 10 overs, laying the perfect platform for the power-hitters to finish with a flourish.
The Mumbai attack once again seemed to heavily depend on Jasprit Bumrah (1 for 28). Rohit was forced to summon him every time a partnership threatened to take the game away from them. With just one Bumrah over to tackle at the death, PBKS went after the other bowlers as 59 runs came off the last four overs.
Mahela Jayawardene made no bones out of the fact that his bowling attack has often come under the cosh. Admitting that they have to exert sustained pressure on the opposition, he highlighted MI’s long-term plan with the availability of England fast bowler Jofra Archer. The 8-crore signing is missing the current season due to an elbow injury.
“We’ve built a bowling attack for a four/five-year period. And obviously after the big auction, we were not able to retain all that options, and we knew that we needed to be different and try and see how best we can execute. It’s very tough to compare the attacks that we had in the past and the attack we have now. We still have some good, quality bowlers – the skills are a bit different – so we are trying to figure out how best we can control that. And obviously, one of the best bowlers that we’ve bought in the auction is Jof [Jofra Archer] – Jof is not here.“So it is tough when you are in that kind of situation, but we are trying to see how best we can manage. In terms of the last four-five games, if you look at it, we’ve had some really good spells, we controlled things for a while. But we cannot hold that pressure going on, because in certain times, it’s either two or three overs that we go big and that has hurt us. So that’s something that we really have to nail down and make sure our that execution is better in those situations,” the Sri Lankan legend elaborated.
The Mumbai Indians have just two days to turn things around, as they take on the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday evening. Mayank Agarwal’s boys will play the following afternoon versus the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the DY Patil Stadium.