The UAE leg of IPL VII is proving to be a nightmare for Mumbai Indians, the defending champions. They have played four matches so far and have lost all of them. On Sunday, the Rohit Sharma-led side were thrashed by the Delhi DareDevils by six wickets, in Sharjah.
The wicket wasn’t really easy for batting, but that will hardly be an excuse enough for the Mumbai Indians batsmen who haven’t found their feet at all in the UAE. Barring Kieron Pollard’s 33 not out, none of them managed a healthy knock and as a result 125 for six was the score that they got in 20 overs.
The DareDevils were sensible in their chase. With opener Murali Vijay hitting a 34-ball 40 and captain Kevin Pietersen showing form with an unbeaten 26 off 18, the DareDevils were home in 18.5 overs, losing just four wickets.
Pietersen obviously was pleased with his bowlers’ performance and lauded them for executing their plans to perfection.
The Englishman also reserved some special praise for opening batsman Murali Vijay for his application in the middle, terming him “a great player”.
But Pietersen wasn’t over the moon with the comfortable victory over the champions and maintained that the IPL is more of a “marathon than a sprint” where a team must keep the momentum going and do the right things.
Pietersen’s counterpart, Rohit, found it difficult to explain the consistent failures of his much-vaunted batting line-up.
One could see the disappointment writ large on his face when he was asked what needs to be done to get out of the situation.
“We needed to post something for the bowlers to defend,” was his straightforward reply.
Rohit hopes that his team will play better once the tournament’s India leg begins because they will then get the chance of playing before the home crowd.
Kevin Pietersen: I am absolutely happy with this win. After the toss, the match was fifty-fifty, but our bowlers were magnificent. We had a lengthy meeting on Saturday and our bowlers set up the win perfectly for us.
It was a quite a difficult wicket to bat on. It was a two-paced wicket and the ball was keeping low and slow at times. It was like a typical sub-continent wicket. Our batsmen showed some good application.
The way Vijay played was brilliant. Goodness me, he is a great player.
It’s good to register a win. But we need to keep doing the right things and more often than not we will be successful, because IPL is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Rohit Sharma: Our batting let us down again today. It’s the main problem area for us… 126 was not a score we were looking for. We needed to post something for the bowlers to defend. The bowlers tried their best, but it was just too little for them to defend.
We definitely need to work on this area more and I said that at the toss as well. We tried everything possible… We changed the batting line-up, but it didn’t work.
We are looking forward to going to Mumbai and playing in front of our home crowd. But I hope the batsmen will step up here in our last game in Dubai.
Murali Vijay (MoM): Actually the wicket was playing a little slow. I just wanted to take my time and finish the game for my team, but unfortunately couldn’t do that.
On the personal front, I am quite happy with my batting. I had been hitting the ball well in the domestic matches as well and hopefully I can pull off a few wins for the DareDevils. The support here in the UAE is fantastic… Great grounds and great crowd. But I am looking forward to going back to India and playing in Delhi.