On the face of it, Mumbai have it all – the richest owner, the world’s greatest batsman, the world’s best yorker specialist, a super coaching staff and yet they failed to harness all that talent and get past the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL Eliminatior.
Appointed Harbhajan skipper
You do not want a captain who is not performing. You do not want a captain who is incapable of earning his spot in the team. You do not want a captain who forces better players to sit out because he has to play. Mumbai’s problem’s began and ended with Harbhajan Singh. The off-spinner was tactically not the smartest guy going around but in general, he has a force of character to inspire others around him. However, with his own form being down in the dumps, Harbhajan’s IPL 5 can best be characterised as a disaster.
Allowed Tendulkar to open the innings
Sachin Tendulkar is a great batsman. But in T20, he is ‘still’ learning the ropes and he values his wicket too much. If you have Richard Levi and Herschelle Gibbs in your line-up you want them up the order. Ambati Rayudu has done the job well too. Dwayne Smith didn’t do a very bad job either. Mumbai needed to begin their innings with a bang but with Sachin around, it never happened often enough. To accommodate Sachin up the order, Mumbai kept changing the opening combination and that is never good. Compare this to Delhi or Kolkata and you know why Mumbai struggled. Sachin’s strike-rate of just 114 was also never good enough.
Pollard didn’t fire
The West Indian was amazing in the field. He made some fantastic stops, took some amazing catches but as a batsman he failed. He even chipped in with some wickets but his economy rate. Certainly for a player who was valued at 2.2 million, he wasn’t good enough.
Rayudu batted too deep in the order
Throughout the tournament, Ambati Rayudu was one of Mumbai’s better batsmen but he almost always batted too low in the batting order. James Franklin was even tried as opener but other than one innings of 79, he rarely ever got going. Rayudu, on the other hand, often looked good but he rarely had a chance to make his mark.
Little support for Malinga
At the start of the season, Malinga had the likes of Munaf Patel and Kieron Pollard taking wickets as well. But by the end, these bowlers had become ineffective. Mumbai also struggled because they lacked a good spinner. So despite spending a fortune to build the squad, Mumbai had glaring weaknesses in their bowling attack.