Mumbai Indians’ peculiar trait in the Indian Premier League has been to start slow in the competition before taking off mighty in the end phase. While that might have worked for them in the past, this year’s competition, the franchise has to be up on their feet from the word go.
After occupying the fourth spot in the first half of the IPL, Mumbai will kick-off the second half of the IPL with their clash against Chennai Super Kings. Former English star Kevin Pietersen warned that the five-time champions can’t afford to start slow in the second half of the competition.
“Everybody will expect the holders of the competition, Mumbai Indians, to go well, but they don’t have a good history of hitting the ground running. They tend to lose their first few games and then come good towards the end of the tournament,” Pietersen wrote in a blog in betway.com.
“We are already towards the end of the tournament now. Mumbai can’t afford to lose three or four games before they start playing because there’s so little time to play catch-up.
“If they are to retain their crown, they must be on it from ball one. Clearly, with the talent they have in their side, they are capable of doing it.”
On the other hand, Pietersen praised CSK’s start to the tournament and insisted that they would have a ‘fantastic chance’ at winning the trophy if their players are not rusty.
“Everybody wrote off CSK before the IPL started in April, so seeing them go so well was a bit of a surprise. The overseas players, Faf Du Plessis, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, in particular, delivered the goods.
“But I’m not sure how well this four-month absence will have suited them. It could take them a little while to crank back into gear, particularly the older players.
“If they are ready, it could be a historic few weeks for the franchise. They have a fantastic shot at winning a title that everybody thought was beyond them.”
Pietersen also talked about The Ashes, which is amidst severe scrutiny owing to the COVID protocols in Australia, which prevent the English players from travelling with their families.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how this situation with The Ashes develops. Players don’t want to be away from families for months on end, particularly when they’re restricted to bubble life,” he said.
“I know that if I hadn’t been able to take my family on an Ashes tour, there’s no way I would have gone. I sympathise with all of the players in that position. Playing in The Ashes down under is hugely exciting, but they’re being put in a very difficult position.”