Pune: Batting has always been Mumbai Indians' strength ever since the Indian domestic T20 league began in 2008. Having a squad that boasts of Sachin Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard, Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik, the onus has been on the batsmen to see Mumbai through. Lasith Malinga, though, has remained the face of the pace attack after he was drafted into the side in 2009. His toe-crushers have won many matches for Mumbai, but batsmen still have played the dominant role.
This season, however, the inclusion of Mitchell Johnson has given the much-needed teeth to Mumbai's bowling. The Aussie left-arm seamer has been impressive with his opening burst.
He single-handedly ripped apart the batting line of two-time champions Chennai Super Kings, bundling them out for their lowest ever total in the league at the Wankhede Stadium last week.
Johnson carried his form to the next game as well against KKR. No doubt, the Aussie has emerged as the leading wicket-taker for Mumbai, leaving behind slinger Malinga.
With Johnson starting the proceedings and Malinga giving the finishing touch, Mumbai bowling has come a long way, especially in the pace department. The presence of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha has lent balance.
The improved show by the pacers has also taken pressure off the batsmen, who once again will count on these bowlers to work their magic, when Mumbai take on Pune Warriors here. Mumbai have maintained their unbeaten record on their home turf, but have lost four of their six away games. Come Saturday, they would like to put the record straight against a weak PWI.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.