Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop has stated that the Mumbai Indians’ (MI) overcautious batting approach is hurting them in the UAE leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL).
The defending champions succumbed to their second successive defeat in the tournament on Thursday, going down to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi. Earlier, they lost to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 20 runs.
In Thursday’s encounter, MI got off to an impressive start with the bat and were well-placed at 80 for 1 at the halfway stage. However, they failed to accelerate and ended up posting a below-par total of 155 for 6.
In an interaction on ESPN Cricinfo, Bishop blamed MI’s poor batting strategy in the second half of the innings for the loss. According to him, the team cannot expect someone like a Kieron Pollard to fire at the death in every game.
“The powerplay ended up being reasonable as MI got 56. Then, at the backend, Pollard was going reasonably well. But you cannot score less than six runs an over from overs 7 to 15. No matter how well Narine, Chakravarthy and Prasidh Krishna bowled, you cannot do that. That’s playing Russian roulette, in case the backend doesn’t come off. Let’s not forget, Hardik Pandya is not there either. That is also something MI are missing,” Bishop pointed out.
MI openers Rohit Sharma (33) and Quinton de Kock (55) added 78 for the opening wicket in 9.2 overs. However, Suryakumar Yadav (5) and Ishan Kishan (14) could not build on the start as MI completely lost momentum.
“Some cracks appearing in MI’s invincibility” – Deep Dasgupta
According to former India cricketer Deep Dasgupta, MI are suffering because they are trying to change the template which has brought them unparalleled success.
Admitting that the struggling middle order and Hardik’s absence are proving to be a handicap for the defending champions, Dasgupta opined that MI should not deviate from their original winning formula.
“When I look at MI’s body language, there are some cracks appearing in their invincibility. They are still a very good side. These surfaces and venues here, they actually help MI, the kind of squad they have. Again, they have a certain kind of a template and that has been so successful. These players have followed that template for the last so many years because they have been part of the set-up,” Dasgupta said.
The former wicket-keeper batsman added:
“Suddenly, just because a couple of players are not in form and one is injured, you cannot change this template. It doesn’t come that easy because you are so used to playing in a certain way. I think they should just go back to playing the way they do. They have that experience to be a little more careful in how they go about things.”
Following Thursday’s loss, MI have slipped to sixth position in the IPL 2021 points table, with four wins and five losses from nine games.