Old Foes: Hitting Practice

Match#49: Mumbai Indians v/s Delhi Daredevils

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

Form: MI- Win, Win, Loss, Win, Win, Win, Loss, Win, Win,
            DD- Loss, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Loss, Win,

One thing is for sure- I will never laugh again when Virender Sehwag makes a horrendously funny claim, something on the lines of: ‘I will bat through the innings’ or ‘Delhi still stand a chance. It is upto me’

Not after an innings that actually made ‘Kill Bill’ trend on twitter for lack of better description of the sheer carnage that took place in Hyderabad on Thursday night. The whole point being- just like the ‘Bride’, Viru made destruction look beautiful and stylish.

All hail the man of his word.

Munaf Patel, beware. A smile for a smile.

Delhi Daredevils: (Semi finals 2008, 2009)

After single-handedly being dragged back into mild contention against their wishes, the Daredevils are now in a territory nobody expected them to be in- just a week back. They are above three teams- somewhere close to *gasp* midtable.

Ludwig Van Viru

Of course, they have their captain to thank after one of the most significant innings in the history of T20 cricket. That he scored 75% of Delhi’s runs while chasing a good score- was a mere footnote on the night of violence to the tunes of Beethoven and Mozart. Deccan will never be seen again- much like Kochi refusing to come out of hiding after a similarly frightful performance by Ishant against them.

The full moon is well and truly out- atleast in Sehwag’s world. Yes, luck did play a crucial role- but never did the possibility of a double-century in T20 cricket look so routine until Sehwag took the crease.

If he even applied half that skill to chase down scores in international games, India would have been triple world champions by now.
But Alas…

Nobody else can be mentioned right now- not after a night that truly glorified the sheer power of single individual brilliance in a ‘team game’. No, not even Sachin could have instilled such fear and love for their mothers in the bowlers. Not even in his heydeys. No.

Player to watch out for: Viru

Cometh the moment, cometh the smiling assassin. Unfortunately for Viru, DD have made a storeroom out of such moments- and his brilliance will be required in perfect doses and spurts for the next 4 games continously. One failure, and Delhi are out. Sad, but true.

Mumbai Indians: (Finals 2010)

After yet another painfully perfectly-paced innings (not unlike Aamir Khan’s ‘perfectionist’ streak) that looked much larger than it should have been because of yet another disastrously-planned chase by the Pune Warriors, Mumbai Indians find themselves comfortably placed at the top of the table once again.

Yet another opening partner to SRT?

But this year, SRT himself seems to be in blissful denial of a glaring chink in their strategy- ‘what’s wrong with the lowest powerplay score average if we are winning games?’

Correct, as always- except that a game like the one against Rajasthan will be due yet again if both Pollard and Symonds misfire together. Yes, there is a thin margin of error that separates a team from looking pathetically mediocre after a total plan mess-up (total of, say, 85) and a team looking distinctly like they had things in control all along. (A total of 155-160, as is the norm).

And the MI think-thank seem to be pushing their luck a bit with their rotation of Sachin’s opening partner at a quicker pace than *yet another joke on Shane Warne’s solid social skills*

Anyhow, the time to panic is apparently quite far away. 14 points from 9 games obviously suggests that analysts should be out of a job by now- simply for fretting so much about their unconvincing team balance and wins.

So Rohit Sharma played like he was invaded by the ghost of Grame Smith (who, in turn, played like he was invaded by the ghost of Graeme Smith)- and it was left to the classy secret weapon (Plan, maybe? Nah) T. Suman to rescue the innings from a Royal-style collapse. He did, to an extent- with the help of an alive-again Pollard- who is finally justifying exactly 15% of his price tag.

Of course, the draw has been considerably kind to the Indians so far- and the prospect of facing Delhi will only encourage them to slide further into the realms of complacency and nonsensical ‘pacing’.

At the risk of sounding exceedingly honest, expect the entire MI squad to register themselves in the IIPM batch of 2011 after their tried-and-tested plans fail against a explosive Chennai or consistent KKR side in the knockouts.

Player to watch out for: Harbhajan Singh

The Sardarji from Jaladhar, who is apparently yet to recover from a World Cup hangover, has finally learnt the important art of taking wickets while restricting the runs- simultaneously! Miraculous indeed- and maybe now he can offer some valuable life lessons to the current RCB captain Daniel Vettori.

That he has taken over 9 years to master this art is a minor issue- often brushed off with  ‘I take the important ones, yaar!’


This seems to be the week of upsets. Let us go with the flow- and for the betterment of the quality of the group stages, Mumbai must play their part just like KKR and Deccan did on Thursday.

Hence, a DD win it is!

But logic seems to suggest that….LOGIC? AFTER THAT INNINGS?

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