x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Chennai Super Kings heap more misery on struggling Mumbai Indians

Mohit Sharma continues impressive form by taking four wickets for just 14 runs

Mohit Sharma, No 18, bowls for Chennai Super Kings during their Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on April 25, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Mohit Sharma, No 18, bowls for Chennai Super Kings during their Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on April 25, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // Life after Sachin Tendulkar was always going to be different for the Mumbai Indians. No one thought the slide would be quite this rapid, though.

The defending champions are playing like chumps at present and were thrashed by seven wickets by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Dubai on Friday.

They have endured a glum time in the UAE so far and could not even rouse themselves to produce a little belated birthday cheer for Tendulkar.

Their former batsman and now most celebrated supporter turned 41 on Thursday and was in attendance on the boundary edge in Dubai yesterday.

Yet even he could not spark a performance from the IPL title holders, whose run of losses stretched to three at the start of their title defence as they performed listlessly again.

“He is with us here in the dressing room and he is hurting just like everyone else,” John Wright, the Mumbai coach, said of Tendulkar.

“It is not easy times when you have high expectations and passionate owners.”

Mumbai’s search for a win foundered because of limp batting.

“Our batting is not clicking and we are putting our bowlers under pressure,” Wright said. “We need to find a solution very quickly.

“We need to have a look at our batting line-up, take some risks and utilise the batsmen who are in form.”

Mumbai’s innings was a tale of two Sharmas.

Rohit Sharma, the India batsman who is Mumbai’s captain, top scored with a 41-ball 50, but the batting effort from the rest of his side was undermined by Mohit Sharma, the CSK seamer who has thrived since he was given his chance by MS Dhoni this time last year.

Mohit has played five one-day internationals and three matches at the World Twenty20 since making his breakthrough in last year’s IPL.

He continues to impress, with a haul of four wickets in Dubai on Friday for the parsimonious concession of just 14 runs from his four overs.

“We were disappointed not to get to 160,” Rohit said of the Mumbai effort.

“We batted well in the middle, but we didn’t finish it off and that put us on the back foot. We were 15 runs short, the bowlers tried really hard, but 140 was never enough.”

CSK were untroubled in their pursuit of 142 to win, thanks to their thriving openers, each of whom was a new recruit from this year’s auction.

Dwayne Smith got the innings off to a flying start, hitting four sixes in his brisk 29, while Brendon McCullum carried his bat for 71.

“The best thing is they are not competing with each other. They are complementing each other which I think is very important,” said Dhoni, the CSK captain.

“If Dwayne Smith is going, McCullum takes a back seat, and if there is a momentum shift and Smith is not able to hit then McCullum takes charge.

“That is important because you don’t have to fire on all cylinders. You can score at a brisk pace but get a partnership going and not lose too many wickets.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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