IPL-2022: Mumbai Creates IPL History Of The Wrong Kind!


Mumbai Indians (MI) becomes the first ever franchise in Indian Premiere League (IPL) since its first edition in 2008 to have lost eight games on the trot at any stage of the tournament. After losing a last-ball cliffhanger against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) that MI should’ve won the franchise succumbed to its 8th loss against the newbie Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) last night at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. The appalling factor about the match was the total listlessness and the utter lack of a will to win on the part of MI. This reflects very badly on its captain and India captain Rohit Sharma that he should fail to regroup his eleven after loss after loss and after loss…! Ironically, as we said in our earlier pieces, all its matches have been played on its ‘home’ grounds and the performances have angered the fans and also cricket lovers, righteously.

 

Well, the IPL has always been more of a business extravaganza than cricket that does still allow us to have glimpses of excellent cricket and fierce competitive spirit as the tournament unfolds every year. Therefore, every participating team has to give a fight in every game while given the fact that victories and defeats are part of the game, and thus justifying the ‘business’ part of their owners and the ‘cricket’ part for the spectators. MI has failed on both these counts, miserably. Rohit has blamed his batsmen in the middle order calling their shots ‘irresponsible’. However, throughout the matches we had seen the team’s overdependence on the middle order in terms of Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma while the top order including the captain and the lower middle order including Pollard prominently failed to deliverer consistently. Not to speak of the dropped catches and the spineless bowling.

 

At least in this crucial match Rohit, after winning the toss, should’ve shown his win-resolve by opting to bat first on a pitch that he himself called batting-friendly and try to build up a mammoth total putting the combined might of his team. But no, he had decided to follow the ‘traditions’ as religiously as possible. It is now futile to go on speculating the chances of MI to make to the play-offs, because they are virtually or practically or realistically are indeed thrown out of IPL-2022. Again, why at all to repeat the fact that the same franchise has registered the maximum number of 5 Championship wins in IPL history.

 


On the other hand, the LSG captain KL Rahul has been on a roll proving to be a nemesis for MI hitting back-to-back centuries (interestingly, 103 not out both times) and becomes the first IPL batsman to score three tons against a single opponent. He has surpassed Virat Kohli as the fastest IPL batsman to score 6000 runs in 179 matches, and in terms of total tons scored in IPL history by a batsman he, with a total of 4 tons, only has Chris Gayle (6) and Virat Kohli (5) ahead while equaling the records of Shane Watson and David Warner with 4 each. In IPL-2022 Jos Buttler (RR) has so far scored the maximum number of 3 tons, closing in on Kohli who has scored the maximum of 4 in one IPL season, followed by Rahul’s two. Despite Rahul’s century last night LSG has managed to set only a moderate target of 169 runs for MI, but his bowlers, prominently the three spinners capable of suffocating the batsmen, have strongly defended the total and won by a huge margin of 36 runs.

 


As for Saturday’s double-header the two matches were studies in contrast. The first match between Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) was an extremely one-sided affair with the fiery bursts of pacers Marco Jansen and T Natarajan, capturing 3 scalps each, skittled out RCB for just 68, one of the ten lowest totals of IPL by any team. SRH won the match in just 8 overs and by 9 wickets, thus registering their 5th win on the trot under the able leadership of Kane Williamson. SRH now occupies the second position in the points table with 10 points and a healthy net run-rate of +0.69 and 7 games still to go.

 

In the second match on Saturday Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), chasing a modest target of 157 runs set by Gujarat Titans (GT), faltered badly with top and middle order batting collapse. Of course, the unpredictable Andrew Russel did last till the last over when the team needed 18 runs to win. Russel hit the first ball to a huge six reducing the required runs to 12 in 5 ball, a real chance to seal the match; however, in the next ball he got out thanks to an outstanding catch by Logie Ferguson; and the match was over as GT won by 8 runs. 


In another thriller on 22nd April, Rajasthan Royals (RR), put into bat by Delhi Capital (DC) skipper Rishabh Pant, raced royally to a mammoth target of 223 runs losing only two wickets and the 3rd century by Buttler of 116 glorious runs in 65 balls. Although in fits and starts the DC has indeed managed to turn the match into a thriller by putting up 207 runs in 20 over thanks to quick cameos by Pant and Lalit Yadav. But at the end the effective pace of Prasidh Krishna and spin bowling of R Ashwin and Yazuvendra Chahal helped their team capture 8 wickets and win by 15 runs.

 


The most exciting newbie franchise GT sits pretty on the top with 12 points winning 6 out of 7 matches so far. Captain Hardik Pandya is leading well and shining effectively with the bat almost every time. We must mention here their hyperactive coach and former India pacer Ashish Nehra who rather reminds us of a typical football coach, coming to the boundary line again and again and giving emotive instructions. His efforts seem to be paying off for his team. As for the other positions Rajasthan, Lucknow and Bangalore, in respective order, are locked with 10 points each while Delhi, Kolkata and Punjab, in the 6th to 8th spots, are locked with 6 points each, KKR, after a good start, has been doing badly losing more often in recent days having their non-performers to blame only. The stakes seem to very high for DC, KKR and PBKS to make it to the play-offs at the moment.

 

In the meantime, the BCCI has announced that the Qualifier-1 and the Eliminator will be played at the Eden Gardens Kolkata on 24th and 25th May respectively while the Qualifier-2 and the Final are to be played in the Narendra Modi stadium Ahmedabad on 27th and 29th May respectively. Good news for the cricket lovers is that in all these play-off games and the Final full-capacity crowds will be allowed.


(Note: In our IPL-2022 Reports the photos are being utilized from the IPL Official Website )

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