Mayank Markande, Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians, IPL 2018
Rohit Sharma (left) and Mayank Markande (Image courtesy: AFP)

Mayank Markande, 20, took the cricket fraternity with surprise by impressing in his VIVO IPL 2018 debut. He bagged 3 wickets to place Mumbai Indians (MI) in a winning position in the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). His 3 scalps included MS Dhoni. It was a Dwayne Bravo special that snatched away a win from MI’s jaws. Since then, MI have continued to slump, losing 5 matches and winning just 2 but Markande has delivered more often and also wore the Purple Cap for a while.

After bagging 7 wickets in his first 2 matches, Markande managed just 3 wickets in his next 5 games. He failed to impress in the second-leg game against CSK where he leaked 30 runs off his 3 overs. Sunil Gavaskar believes that the young leg-spinner has lot a bit of the initial spark.

In his column for The Times of India, ahead of Mumbai’s clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gavaskar, a Mumbaikar, is critical of Markande and Bangladeshi seamer Mustafizur Rahman. After mentioning RCB’s perennial weakness of bowling, he elaborated MI’s plights in the same discipline too.

IPL 2018, RCB vs MI, Match 31 at Bengaluru: Preview, Predictions and Likely XIs
IPL 2018, RCB vs MI, Match 31 at Bengaluru: Preview, Predictions and Likely XIs

“Bowling is a problem for Mumbai too, though Bumrah bowled superbly against Chennai. Markande has lost a bit of the spark that he had at the start of the tournament and the fizz is not quite there in Mustafizur, too, so far this season,” Gavaskar wrote.

Importance of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli

Gavaskar highlighted the 2 instances this season where Mumbai won and both were courtesy skipper Rohit Sharma’s half centuries. Analysing Rohit’s role as a batsman for MI, Gavaskar added, “Rohit Sharma is the key for when he scores, Mumbai invariably get a good score and it was good to see him bat at No. 3 ahead of the young and impetuous but talented Ishan Kishan. Both the Mumbai wins so far have come when the skipper has played a big innings. Suryakumar Yadav is batting beautifully and Evin Lewis is as ferocious a hitter as fellow West Indians Chris Gayle and Andre Russell.”

The former Indian captain cautioned Mumbai of Virat Kohli’s form. Kohli is third in the list of top run-getters in 2018 edition with 317 runs from 7 games. In MI versus RCB previous encounter, he finished on the losing side but smacked a 92*.

“Virat Kohli played a brilliant innings against Mumbai in their away game and going by the touch he displayed against Kolkata, Mumbai should be watching out for another scorcher from the Bangalore skipper. The other issue is that once these guys are out there is no finisher for the Bangalore team.

More importantly their bowling is inconsistent which makes Kohli’s task even harder as to whom to bring on and at what stage of the innings,” Gavaskar wrote on Kohli’s plights.

Both, Mumbai and Bangalore, have 2 wins from 7 matches which makes their Tuesday date a must-win proposition.