Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mumbai: We might all of a sudden witness new contenders for the orange cup. Well, it might take some time for them to match Gayle and Ajinkya Rahane, but for sure many batsmen will now start scoring runs with fluency. The reason being the absence of Malinga, who will miss the ongoing IPL for at least two weeks, which has come as a huge blow for Harbhajan-led Mumbai Indians. The fast bowler had to return to Sri Lanka for treatment of back spasms.
Mumbai Indians depend hugely on Malinga who has been their tormentor-in-chief in all the seasons of Indian Premier League. It is actually impossible for them to find a replacement for him. Even if they do, that particular player would have huge shoes to fill. However, all know that the performance, no matter how great, would never equalize that of Malinga’s. Mumbai Indians, one of the balanced outfits in the IPL, are struggling with three wins from 5 matches. Their former skipper Sachin Tendulkar also missed the last two matches due to a finger injury.
With 28 wickets from 15 matches, ‘Slinga’ Malinga turned out to be the most lethal bowler in the previous edition. It was a record for the highest number of wickets taken by any bowler in all seasons. Malinga once again was impressive in IPL 2012, as he took nine wickets from four games at an economy-rate of 4.54. He has been MI’s wicket-taking machine in all editions of the cash-rich tourney. In the ongoing season, he reached yet another feat by becoming the bowler with the highest number of wickets (65) in IPL surpassing RP Singh (64 wickets).
It is yet to be seen how Mumbai Indians perform in the absence of their spearhead, but this might be a good lesson for the other teams who hugely rely on one or two players to win most of the matches for them (read Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers). While the Mumbai Indians will miss Malinga badly, it’s a huge sigh of relief for other batsmen who need not bother about toe cracking yorkers for quite some time!