Apr 262013

MUMBAI: It may take just one ball for the Mumbai Indians to win this game. However, if that ‘one ball’ doesn’t come about soon enough, it may almost be impossible for them to compete with, let alone overcome, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night.

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Ask the poor Pune Warriors bowlers, who, according to their coach Allan Donald, are ‘mentally scared’ after Jamaican ‘superbat’ Chris Gayle tore them to shreds while blasting a record, unbeaten 175 off just 66 balls on Tuesday.

It was an innings that included 17 sixes, prompting a fan at the Chinnaswamy Stadium to put up a banner that said: “When Gayle bats, spectators become fielders, and fielders turn into spectators.” Think of Rohit Sharma.

In just his second game as the newly-anointed MI skipper, the 26-year-old has to somehow execute the plan of stopping the most devastating batsman.

In this situation, the only positive for his men lies in two hypothetical possibilities — that Gayle may have already produced his best, and therefore can’t get any better, and secondly, the law of averages may just catch up with the big West Indian.

Howsoever big the Gayle threat may be, though, MI cannot be obsessed with it. There are other RCB batsmen capable of doing the damage as well. AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Tillakaratne Dilshan are all game-changers too.

What can keep MI’s morale up is that in the last game, they scored a satisfying win over KKR. That should even out the contest and make for an exciting Saturday evening.

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