Red-hot MI awaits resurgent Supergiant

Mumbai Indians now has six wins on the trot, but it cannot take Rising Pune Supergiant for granted, especially after its resurgence via a certain M. S. Dhoni.

M. S. Dhoni is only one of a number of potent finishers possessed by Rising Pune Supergiant.   -  PTI


Mitchell McClenaghan, the fast bowler, was indicative of latent confidence among his Mumbai Indians team-mates when he expressed satisfaction at his side’s ability to winning close matches, after its 14-run win over Delhi Daredevils. The team seems to be grounded, seen in McClenaghan’s refusal to look ahead to the play-offs, as it knows the tables can turn at any juncture.

On Monday, it will need to be sharp against Rising Pune Supergiant, filled with specialists to finish off games in Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Manoj Tiwary and a certain M. S. Dhoni, who showed his value with a last-ball finish against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday. Leg-spinner Imran Tahir is capable of troubling the best stroke-makers; the help for Amit Mishra from the Wankhede Stadium wicket on Saturday showed that spinners can turn a match around.

McClenaghan laid down Mumbai Indians’ response mechanism to every situation in simple terms. Speaking about the instructions from the team management when going out to defend 142 against Delhi Daredevils, he said, “The message was very clear, just to do our things. We bowled with control, but still with a nice presence. When you defend a sub-par score on a pretty good wicket, the team insists you to go out and be aggressive with the ball, make things happen from the outset.”

However, executing the strategy will not be very straightforward all the time, especially against an opponent that has defeated it only earlier this month. Mumbai has come back well after an indifferent start to the league, and will be a different unit to the one that went down defending 184. It has now won six games on the trot, signifying that the cliched ‘momentum’ is with it. Moreover, the wins were constructed by different individuals each time - Parthiv Patel, Jos Buttler, Nitish Rana, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard with the bat and Hardik Pandya for his all-round effort. It is a sign of a champion squad.

The team is perched atop the Indian Premier League points tally and the knock-out berth is within range. But considering the resurgence of Supergiant, and Dhoni’s statement of form, it will not take anything for granted.

Rising Pune Supergiant’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni  and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma will become second and third player to complete 150 IPL matches on Monday. Suresh Raina has played 154 matches. Dhoni has played 129 for Chennai Super Kings and 20 for RPS, while Sharma has played 104 for Mumbai Indians and 45 for Deccan Chargers, Hyderabad.

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