The first week of the Indian Premier League is over and the start of the tournament has seen a familiar theme repeat; a lackluster start to the tournament by Mumbai Indians. The three-time champions' eight-wicket loss to Kings XI Punjab means that they have now lost two of their first three games.
Quite evidently, both Delhi Capitals and Kings XI had comfortable victories against them. Even their victory against Royal Challengers Banglore wasn't a convincing performance and was only made possible due to some individual magic by Jasprit Bumrah and the umpire's failure to spot a no-ball on the final ball of the match.
For a team that on paper looks one of the strongest and most balanced, their displays on the pitch have not backed that up. Rohit Sharma's side has not lived up to expectations so far and desperately need a revival in form and fortunes. Or else, they could be heading into a second consecutive season; where they don't make the playoffs.
#3 Use of Mayank Markande
It is no secret that in modern-day limited's over cricket, wrist spinner's are an extremely important asset for any team. Players like Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Rashid Khan, and Imran Tahir are the arguably the biggest wicket-taking options of their respective franchises. Most successful teams in the shortest format usually have a potent wrist-spinner in their ranks.
Hence, the rise of Mayank Markane was a source of great relief for the Mumbai Indians last season. The youngster, who was an unknown commodity at the time, started with seven wickets in his first two matches against Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Despite, his form dwindling towards the second half of the season, he was considered as one of the finds of the season.
Post the IPL, Markande rose in prominence with impressive performances for Punjab in domestic cricket. This led to him making his India debut in a T20I against Australia in February.
Seeing his growth as a player, the 21-year-old was expected to play a major role for the Mumbai Indians this season. However, that has not been the case so far. To the surprise of many, Markande was not in the playing XI for the first game against Delhi Capitals.
While he returned to the line up against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he only bowled three overs; despite taking one wicket and conceding just 23 runs. The decision not to complete his quota was surprising as Yuvraj Singh dropped a catch off his bowling of AB De Villiers and the South African was struggling to read him in his first two overs.
Further, Markande was only given one over against Kings XI Punjab. In both matches, Rohit Sharma has not given Markande the ball after one expensive over. If Mumbai wants to win the tournament, Rohit Sharma will have to show more faith in his leg-spinner.
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