Mumbai’s stars have to shine

2010-09-14 00:00

THE Champions League’s latest offering for Durbanites sees the star-studded Mumbai Indians tackle the South Australian Redbacks this evening.

Both sides have played one match so far — and both against the Lions — but with different outcomes.

While the Indians fell to a surprising and rather sudden loss in the opening match, the Redbacks profited from what looked like a Lion-sized hangover to start their safari on a winning note.

With just the two sides from each group going to the play-offs, Sachin Tendulkar’s mob of world beaters need to quickly find the winning path if they plan to be here on finals weekend.

While the Lions were certainly motivated last Friday, the Mumbai outfit looked in control for much of their innings — until the late wobble.

Tendulkar said the team would improve, and tonight will almost certainly see Dwayne Bravo return to the team, possibly in place of Ryan McLaren.

The Proteas all-rounder looked distinctly off-colour on Friay night, spraying the new-ball and then deciding to be a spectator when a catch begged for his attention.

In truth, much of the Mumbai play on Friday suggested a team that was sure it would get there one way or another.

Even the ‘little master’ himself was a little gung-ho. They will need to sharpen up — and fast.

The Redbacks, with far less of the star appeal, showed that they are a workmanlike unit blessed with touches of class.

Michael Klinger bashed the Lions’ poor length to submission at Centurion on Sunday, while Callum Ferguson exhibited his class with very little apparent effort.

Like most sporting teams that come from Down Under, the Redbacks appear limited — and then find a way to get the job done.

In Shaun Tait they have the express pace needed to shake things up — especially at Kingsmead when the lights take effect on a greasy top.

The prospect of a steaming Tait running into the broad bat of Tendulkar is almost worth the ticket price alone.

Tendulkar was cavalier in his 69 at the Wanderers, with his punchy precision off the new ball as good as it ever was.

The likes of JP Duminy and Kieron Pollard showed glimpses of their obvious class, but someone needs to provide the Mumbai outfit’s coup de grace after Tendulkar’s early offerings.

Pollard, made famous by the hit and giggle version, can easily clear any boundary, as his forward defensive push for six off Shane Burger proved last Friday.

He is a true game-breaker, but it can’t all be left to the man mountain from Trinidad.

Harbhajan Singh is an injury worry for Mumbai, with the feisty ‘Turbanator’ having spent more time on the deck than in the thick of it against the Lions.

He ended up on his backside before he even bowled a ball, then suffered a worrying knee blow in the final over of the Mumbai chase.

Without Harbhajan, the Mumbai attack looks distinctly bland, and Klinger and company will be licking their lips.

Mumbai know they really have to win if they want to control their own destiny, and that alone should add extra intrigue under the Kingsmead candles.

• Davy Jacobs played the innings of his life and then took two catches of similar calibre to lead the Warriors to a 28-run victory over the Victoria Bushrangers at St George’s Park yesterday.

It was a result that gave the Warriors two wins out of two in Group A of the Airtel Champions League T20 and must give them an excellent chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Jacobs was an obvious choice for man of the match. He was involved in the two key moments of the match, first getting the Warriors away to a rip-roaring start and then taking two wonderful catches to make sure that the Bushrangers were kept in check when they batted.

The Warriors’ made a competitive total of 158/6.

The decisive moment in the Australians’ innings came when Justin Kreusch and Rusty Theron took three wickets between them in the space of five balls, including both Andrew McDonald and David Hussey.

Thereafter the Bushrangers fell further and further behind the required rate and needed 42 off the last over with their last pair at the wicket.

MUMBAI VS REDBACKS: Play starts at 5.30 pm. TV – live on SuperSport 2.

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