Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 5 - Mumbai Indians vs Otago Volts
Star-studded Mumbai Indians take on in-form Otago Volts
Defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians take on the Otago Volts in Match 4 of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013.
The Mumbai Indians ended their season-opener against the Rajasthan Royals on the wrong side of the result. On that day, the team looked rusty and appeared to be a shadow of the side that won IPL 2013. After the top order caved in, it took a caution-first approach from skipper Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard to revive the innings and propel the team to a respectable total. Though the bowlers bowled well, they did not have enough runs on the board to defend. To stay in the race, they need to raise their game all round and start getting wins under their belt.
The Otago Volts are on a roll. They swept their way through the Qualifiers, even defeating a formidable Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final match of the qualifying phase. They have now won 13 matches in a row and will be hoping to stretch that run further.
Monday, September 23, 2013, 8 pm IST
Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Nothing has changed in the 24 years Sachin Tendulkar has been around. The spotlight and expectancy has been on him all through the years and it will be no different in Ahmedabad on Monday. The 40-year-old played a few crisp strokes in his brief knock against the Rajasthan Royals, before being done in by a beautiful outswinger. With a lot riding on every match in this crisp tournament, Tendulkar will be expected to play more than just cameos. Skipper Rohit Sharma and Pollard weren’t at their fluent best in the opening match, but they have runs under their belt and will look to carry that confidence into this match.
Though the pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Rishi Dhawan was impressive against the Royals, the focus will shift to the spin pair of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha because the pitch at Ahmedabad is likely to be a lot drier.
Brendon McCullum shrugged off poor form prior to the tournament and played two match-winning knocks in the Qualifiers. His team will need many more such knocks from their skipper to go the distance in the competition. Hamish Rutherford is rated as a very dangerous batsman, and the 24-year-old gave glimpses of what he is capable of in the match against the Sunrisers. A powerful striker of the cricket ball and a quick run-scorer, Rutherford will be expected to not just get starts but convert them to big scores. The Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate had a poor outing against the Sunrisers and will look to redeem himself in this match.
On the bowling front, Nathan McCullum came in for some stick in the match against the Maroons, but came back strongly to pick up two wickets against the Sunrisers and win the Man of the Match award. On a spinner-friendly track, he will be expected to carry on the good work.
Kieron Pollard has hit more sixes than fours in Twenty20 cricket; the Trinidadian has hit 283 sixes and 266 fours in the 188 innings he has batted in this format.
This match will feature two of the most prolific six-hitters in the Twenty20 format; Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard is second on the list of six-hitters with 283 sixes, while Otago Volts skipper Brendon McCullum has hit 201 sixes in 164 outings.
The Mumbai Indians will stay put at Ahmedabad after this match. Their next match is against the Highveld Lions on September 27. The Otago Volts meanwhile head to Jaipur after this match to take on the Perth Scorchers on September 25.