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Mumbai Indians’ underperformance came as surprise, considering expectations placed on them: Ambati Rayudu

Mumbai Indians' underperformance came as surprise, considering expectations placed on them Ambati Rayudu

Mumbai Indians. (Source -IPL/BCCI)

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians became the first team to crash out of IPL 2024 after their continued horror run in the season. The team was already at the center point of a lot of criticism before the season started due to their captaincy change and the sub-par outings added to their woes. Talking about the same, former India cricketer Abati Rayudu said how MI’s underperformance came as a surprise.

Rayudu also spoke on how LSG still hold a strong chance and RCB’s consistent show can make them a formidable contender too. RCB, SRH, LSG, and CSK are still in the race to finish in the top four of the points table.

Speaking exclusively at the ‘Star Sports Press Room Show – Race to Play-offs’, Ambati Rayudu, cricket expert and commentator with Star Sports for IPL 2024, commented on the current table standings, “Yeah, it’s more or less in line with Bhajju Pa’s (Harbhajan Singh) prediction. Mumbai Indians’ underperformance came as a surprise, considering the expectations placed on them. On the other hand, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s unexpected performance has been remarkable, given the quality of their team and their style of cricket. With such unpredictability in the mix, Lucknow Super Giants still hold a strong chance. Additionally, RCB’s consistent performance makes them a formidable contender. It’s a scenario where any team has the potential to qualify for the next stage.”

Harbhajan Singh discussed whether the table standings align with predictions, stating, “Well, to be honest, there’s no reason for us to be happy or sad since we are not playing anymore. It’s merely a matter of prediction for us; we had anticipated KKR, RR, and Chennai Super Kings to progress, alongside Mumbai Indians. However, Mumbai Indians’ performance fell short of our expectations. Nonetheless, approximately 80% of the anticipated teams are already occupying the top four spots.”

Harbhajan Singh spoke about which team may qualify for the playoffs, saying, “Any team has a shot at qualifying; that fourth slot is up for grabs by anyone. A team that performs well in the next week or so could secure that spot. Moreover, surprises can happen – the team that clinches the fourth spot might even emerge as the top contender to lift the trophy. In this unpredictable scenario, any team is capable of defeating another team. The first two spots seem to be locked, and Sunrisers Hyderabad might secure the third spot if they win at least one more game. As for the fourth slot, contenders include CSK, RCB, and LSG, while Delhi and GT seem to have little or no chance now.”

Rayudu spoke on what goes into keeping the team environment healthy, saying, “If you keep it simple, it is easy. If you complicate things, especially if players are your priority and the team is your priority, rather than the coaches thinking that they are the most important ones, or if they try to portray themselves as we are the ones who are running the team, rather than putting players in front and giving them what they need in order to excel and perform. There are two different setups, and most of the teams are confused between both of them. If the coaches take a back seat and work behind the scenes, and let the players take the ownership, and let the players have the freedom in order to perform on the ground. Those are the sort of teams that excel, and that is what KKR has been doing. Gautam Gambhir is just facilitating them and guiding them in the right direction.”

Harbhajan Singh shared his experience of playing under Brendon McCullum when he was the coach for KKR and discussed how a coach can play a huge role in the team’s success, saying, “When I was part of KKR, Brendon was there. Brilliant coach. One of the top guys I have ever worked with. He was so positive in that dressing room. Whether you win or lose, he remained the same. We lost about 6-7 games at the start of that season, and we ended up qualifying for the final.

I have not seen even a single change in Brendon McCullum when we were not winning and when we were winning. He was just very humble, and straightforward, and for him, everybody was equal. So that is what is very, very important to make sure the team is important. It is about those players going there and doing what they have to do to make sure they lift the cup. It is our duty as mentors or coaches to give them the best we can and keep them in good shape. Not just physically but also mentally because that plays a very, very big role.”

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