Impressive Mumbai Indians Clash with NSW in Crucial Group A Match

Chennai, Oct 1 (IANS): Courtesy divine intervention in Bangalore Friday night, none of the five teams in Group A can afford to lose even a single game in their pursuit of a semifinals slot in the Champions League T20. And that will be very much at the back of the mind of Mumbai Indians and New South Wales Blues ahead of their face-off at the Chepauk here Sunday.

In Group A standings, Mumbai Indians have five points from three matches, the Nashua Cape Cobras are on three from three, while the Super Kings and Blues are tied on two after two outings, and Trinidad and Tobago have lost both their matches but, theoretically, are not yet out of contention.

The severely depleted Mumbai Indians have been a revelation in this tournament with two hard-fought wins in their first two games, before the wash out Friday against the Cobras.

Given that eight of their regulars, including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Munaf Patel, are on the injured-list, Mumbai still managed to dig deep to come up with astonishing performances that have placed them on the doorsteps of a semi-finals spot.

Sunday they have a great chance of pushing that door wide open and stepping into the next round against the Blues who, despite a win against Trinidad, have been far from convincing and have performed way below expectations and potential.

Blues' problem seems to be one of getting the right combination. For their opening game against the Cobras, they were short on experience, but brought in Stuart Clark in an attempt to inject some experience in their line-up, but the seamer's presence was barely noticed as the Blues triumphed in the Super Over following a tie in a low-scoring game.

The absence of Brett Lee (with Kolkata Knight Riders) and Doug Bollinger (Chennai Super Kings) has certainly blunted the Blues' bowling and though a few young tearaways have come in, these fast bowlers are still to mature into top class players.

All-rounder Moises Henriques has emerged as the Blues' mainstay and it was his heroics that carried them past Trinidad, but the onus will be on skipper Simon Katich to rally his troops that contain several promising youngsters for a better collective effort against Mumbai Indians who seem to be running into peak form.

In Bangalore Friday night, Mumbai came up with their best batting performance yet with Kieron Pollard and rookie opener Sarul Kanwar tearing apart the Cobras bowling to post 176 before heavy rains led to a No Result with both teams receiving a point apiece.

However, it remains to be seen how effective the Mumbai bowling would be and skipper Harbhajan Singh will go under the scanner for sure in the light of the off-spinner's omission from the Indian ODI squad that has generated considerable heat and debate.

On the face of it, the contest is between two well-matched sides, but the outcome would hinge on adapting to the conditions, both weather and a slowish pitch.


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Title: Impressive Mumbai Indians Clash with NSW in Crucial Group A Match

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