New Delhi: The smile on the face of Sachin Tendulkar was infectious and broke the tension in the Mumbai Indians camp.
The IPL-VI champions are in a must-win situation when they take on Perth Scorchers in the final Group A match, at the Kotla, on Wednesday. No doubt then, there is a lot of pressure on the side.
Under the circumstances, the tension was palpable in the Mumbai Indians camp. They were going about their practice session silently on the eve of their crucial tie. But once The Master entered the ground, everyone cheered up. He greeted everyone with a warm smile and then had chatted with teammates. It seemed Sachin’s comforting presence eased their nerves.
If Sachin was instrumental in bringing comfort for the others, he, himself, was a man on a mission.
Sachin didn’t have a great run in the tournament so far, scoring only 20 runs. And Tuesday’s session at the nets seemed Sachin is eager to add to his tally.
For more than an hour, world cricket’s most experienced player batted with utmost focus and looked solid. He was also one of the last to leave the nets. Seeing The Master bat so tenaciously, one can say that the Kotla may be in for a treat on Wednesday.
Sachin knows how crucial the match would be for Mumbai Indians to stay in the competition. They are currently at the third position with six points, while Volts finished their engagements with 10 points. Rajasthan Royals have topped the group with four wins and 16 points.
The Mumbai-based side will have to play out of their skins to not just earn full points but also finish with a good run-rate to grab the second semi-final spot from the group.
“We have no other option but to win,” said Mumbai Indians coach John Wright. “We lost the first match against Rajasthan Royals and it upset all calculations. I believe the Kotla wicket would be a good batting track.
“Last time we played here, it was a beautiful batting wicket but we messed up in the middle. This time, we hope not to repeat the mistakes.”
On paper, Mumbai Indians are a stronger team than their opponents. To add to that, Rohit Sharma’s side also got a confidence-booster in their last match as they won by seven wickets.
The Scorchers, on the other hand, with two losses and a match being abandoned are languishing at the bottom of the table with two points. Already out of contention for a semi-final spot, the Scorchers have only pride to play for and spoil Mumbai Indians’ chances.
Perth, however, have some experience in skipper Simon Katich and Test discard Marcus North, besides a few youngsters.