Champions League T20 2013: Mumbai Indians - Tactical Analysis and quick-fixes


Which version of Dinesh Karthik will turn up?

The path ahead in the Champions League T20 2013 is not exactly rosy for Mumbai Indians, and no, it is not only because they miss Lasith Malinga.

The situation does not require this article to explain why a T20 outfit will feel the absence of the most lethal death bowler in the world. Rather, their problem is being caught in a cobweb, one which has an escape route, but not from MI’s perspective.

Though we are free to discuss the solution and why MI cannot implement the same. As a result of the aforementioned impasse, they can get themselves stuck in.

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MI are most likely to be reduced to damage control mode, one which they may not execute properly too. The article will discuss in detail about the obstacles that Mumbai Indians can possibly encounter in the CLT20 and why they will be facing a catch-22 in trying to overcome them.

Areas of concern:

1. Contrary to the common belief, Dinesh Karthik did not have an exceptional IPL 6. He just enjoyed a great start to the IPL and fizzled out. It is best illustrated by the fact that the wicketkeeper-batsman scored 224 runs in his first four matches as against 286 runs in his next 14 matches.

It is not just about the last IPL, for whoever follows Indian cricket will know how quickly DK can turn from being an exemplary batsman to a mediocre one. After the back-to-back centuries in Champions Trophy 2013 warm-ups, that cemented his place in the Indian team, nothing of note has followed.

Since his comeback to the ODIs, he has scored 255 runs in 12 innings at an average of 31.87 and strike-rate of 70.44. I would not be surprised if he gets the axe any time soon.

2. I am pretty sure no one needs an explanation about Sachin Tendulkar’s struggles of late.

3. Between the two, lies Dwayne Smith sandwiched. Irrefutably, the West Indian deserves a spot based on his exploits in the last IPL (418 runs at an average of 32.15).

But his explosive batting style and increasingly overt weakness against spin bowling mean he is a much better bet with two in-form and dependable batsmen in the middle, than with Sachin Tendulkar, whose powers are waning, and Dinesh Karthik, a double-edged sword.

Hence, Mumbai Indians run the risk of lining up a top three with absolutely no degree of assurance. In a tournament with a much shorter duration as compared to IPL, there is no coming back once you lose your way during the opening gambit.

Lasith Malinga – More than what meets the eye!

Adding to all the above mentioned hindrances, Malinga will not be a part of Mumbai Indians’ campaign.

What shows his value the most is that despite not being at his menacing best in the last edition of the IPL, he still managed to pick up 20 wickets in 17 matches at an economy rate of 7.16 as against Mitchell Johnson’s 24 scalps in as many matches at an economy rate of 7.17.

Malinga’s absence will not only leave MI a bowler short, but also blow the cover of both Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, both of whom will now be played according to their merit.

Johnson’s rich vein of form and Malinga’s ever present threat did play a part in the minds of batsmen last season who were forced to take undue risks against the MI spinners, perceiving them to be the weakest spot.

The urge from the batsmen to attack, elicited a number of ill-timed shots that gifted the wickets to the spinners, who picked up 40 wickets between them, despite not playing in spinner friendly conditions. They would not be enjoying the same advantage this time around though.

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Alagappan Vijayakumar
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