Just a day ago, the Mumbai Indians, who will play Punjab Kings XI today, was jolted by their pace spearhead Lasith Malinga’s return to Sri Lanka for treatment for his back spasms. He had already missed the match against Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai won’t be happy, as he is expected to be out of business for two weeks. But what comes as a godsend is Sachin Tendulkar, fit and ready to lift his team out of slough of the recent spate of defeats. They have a fine batting line-up all right, but stooping low to their second lowest IPL total of 92 tells us another story. Skipper Harbhajan Singh, who had to do damage control with his 33 which went in vain, will be relieved that their talisman is back. Perhaps their fortunes may improve.
With Malinga’s temporary exit, there will be added pressure on Mumbai’s bowlers. Especially RP Singh who has been erratic will be expected to raise his game. He has the experience and was part of Deccan Chargers when they became champions. He finished with the purple cap that season. He and the rest of the pack should know consistency is the key.
As for Punjab, they will be bucked up that Azhar Mahmood has joined the team. Azhar is touted to be one of the best players of this format. He’s got 2390 runs at a strike-rate of 143.97 and has 118 wickets against his name. So if Azhar does well, all might be well for Punjab, too. There has been no word of confirmation of Adam Gilchrist’s playing today.