This is no new story to any team with Tendulkar. India was relying too much on this man at one point, and now the Mumbai Indians are showing signs of it. Their bowling is pretty good. They tend to keep their opponents under check. But it is the psychological advantage that their opponents gain after seeing the back of Tendulkar, that is hurting them the most.
The successful run of the Mumbai Indians in the first half of the tournament is attributed largely to the very good opening stands that Sachin and Dhawan were providing them with. Also, the Indian players in their line up were making good contributions. All that has changed in the last two games, and if that does not change soon, it could hurt them later. They might win a game and make it to the Semis, but a different level of performance is required at that stage.
JP Duminy should have got a chance a couple of games earlier. He lends solidity to the middle order. He would be the perfect man to capitalize on the good starts from Sachin and Dhawan. Remember, JP also provides them a cool slow bowling option. Apart from Bhajji, Mumbai do not have another spinner, with Jayasuriya also not playing. JP is a very good fielder too. They could also try Abhishek Nayar for R.Sathish.
Bravo & Pollard are similar kinds of bowlers, equally good fielders. Pollard is a bigger and cleaner striker of the ball, thus he could make the team ahead of Bravo. It is a difficult choice though.
MI need to seal their semi final berth soon. That is foreign territory for them, and may be they are feeling the pressure a bit. If the defeat against CSK was a jerk, the one against KXIP is a major jolt! Mi have to recover and fast. They would also be looking to give Malinga a rest and may be get Jayasuriya in for a few games.
It is very difficult to regain lost momentum, as evident from RCB’s recent performances. But again, it is up to each person in the team to put their hand up and perform. All this said, if anyone can inspire the team and lead by example – it is Sachin Tendulkar. He will know in the back of his mind, how close MI were to reaching the Semis in season 1, and he will be waiting to fire in the next game.
If MI can capitalize on the good starts or be able to rebuild the innings from a shaky start, it would take a lot of pressure off Tendulkar’s shoulders, and the Mumbai Indians will soon be on track again.