With 150 being a challenging, and generally defendable score in Chennai, many have wondered if the pitches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium have been ideal for T20 cricket, which attracts fans due to batsmen hitting fours and sixes at will. However, Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene feels that the IPL isn’t all about batting wickets. The former Sri Lankan captain feels that the concept of neutral venues, which present different conditions, has made IPL 2021 more “interesting.”
“Well I think it’s unfair to say that you need batting wickets in IPL, why is the tournament interesting is because every venue is different which makes it evenly contested. Yes the wickets are slightly on the slower side but we have still seen scores of 150 or 160 in the last few matches,” said Jayawardene, ahead of his team’s fourth game, against the Delhi Capitals in Chennai on Tuesday night.
Chennai has witnessed some low-scoring thrillers, with MI having successfully defended 152 against Kolkata Knight Riders and 150 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, even as they narrowly lost the opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore by two wickets after scoring 159-9. Jayawardene felt that the Chennai wickets were not unplayable, and one of the reasons that MI had fared well there was because the team adapted pretty well to the conditions.
“They are not unplayable, but good, competitive wickets. I think we have been consistent in our approach. It is challenging but we have adapted pretty well. Sometimes we will make mistakes and that is part of the game,” analysed the MI coach. “Every game is a challenge in Chennai because we are playing different teams and not just playing against CSK in Chennai, we are playing against different opposition, so we also have to adjust to different playing styles according to the teams,” Jayawardene felt.
Each team is playing at six venues-Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Delhi-with no side enjoying home advantage.
‘Hardik will bowl in the next few weeks’
Meanwhile, despite MI’s director of cricket Zaheer Khan‘s assurance that “Hardik Pandya would bowl soon,” the allrounder has not bowled in any of the defending champions’ games so far. Jayawardene said that Pandya is currently being assessed and should be available for bowling soon. “In his last ODI series against England, Hardik picked up a niggle. We don’t want to risk an injury with him bowling. He’s being assessed currently and we should see him bowl over the next few weeks,” he revealed.