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Three ways MI can improve

Mumbai Indians have lost their fifth game in a row, and are still waiting to open their account in IPL 2022. Punjab Kings beat them by 12 runs to hand them their fifth straight defeat, and MI’s playoff hopes are staring down the barrel of a gun. The last time MI won anything was the final league match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, which they won by 42 runs. Let’s look at three ways they could improve their tournament.

1. MI cannot field Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat together

Basil Thampi has taken five wickets in five games, which could be acceptable, except that they have also cost him 152 runs. The pacer so far has operated with an economy rate of 9.50, while Jaydev Unadkat’s figures read similarly. he has two wickets from those games and has been expensive at 9.50 as well. In their game against PBKS, MI made a conscious decision to strengthen their bowling. Kieron Pollard was the last recognised batter at number six, followed by a worryingly long tail considering Pollard’s contributions of late haven’t been anything to write home about. The change manifested the right kind of intent, but the selection was baffling, as well as the decision to open the bowling with Basil Thampi to Mayank Agarwal, who enjoyed himself more than a child in a candy store. Since MI ended up conceding 199 runs anyway in the first innings, the decision never paid off. The pair of Unadkat and Thampi conceded 91 runs between them, and are too much a of a liability at the death.

2. Tim David needs more opportunities

MI purchased their Singapore-Australian all-rounder Tim David for 8.25 crores at the auction, but dropped him after two games. 23 games into IPL 2022, one of its highest earning players has faced exactly 9 balls. Kieron Pollard has been a loyal servant for the franchise for over the years and has shown he can still hit the ball a country mile, but doesn’t have the same x-factor he did five years ago. Earlier he could drag MI single-handed from the jaws of inevitable defeat, but in the last couple of seasons hasn’t faced up to the pressure as well. They can still depend on him for a couple of powerful sixes at the back end, but hasn’t proved reliable lately in pressured chases. MI could consider resting him for a few games, and give David some more room to find his feet.

3. MI’s opening combination

Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma have cost Mumbai Indians a total of 31 crores. Wicketkeeper-batter Ishan has scored the most runs for Mumbai at the moment with 178 from five matches, but the bulk of those runs were from the first two games of the tournament from his innings of 81 not out and 54. His second half-century was where he began to struggle; he took 43 runs for that innings batting at a strike-rate of 125, and one could argue that MI needed more intent in pursuit of 193. Since then Ishan has scores of 14, 26 and 3; Rohit Sharma has found himself under heavy pressure to make the most of the powerplay. While Rohit hasn’t managed a half-century, he has still hit 11 fours and six sixes this season, clearly displaying his intent to attack. Teenage batter Tilak Varma and Dewald Brevis have been revelations, and the evergreen Suryakumar Yadav has already scored 163 runs from just three games, averaging 81. If MI consider dropping Ishan lower down the order until he finds touch, they might find more success with any of the other three batters at the top.

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