It will be Chris Gayle vs Lasith Malinga at Wankhade: Shastri

It’s between Lasith Malinga and Chris Gayle at Wankhade Stadium on Wednesday, writes Ravi Shastri in his column in The Times Of India. “Malinga, with 20 wickets at less than nine runs an over and an economy rate of a shade under six, has no competitors in this IPL. Gayle has worked up a tornado of his own with 31 sixes and 25 fours flying off his bat. They hold the key to this contest. It’s also a reflection on how much Mumbai has relied on their bowlers and Bangalore on their batsmen this year. Malinga has been backed by Munaf Patel and two spinners. Gayle and De Villiers are the irresistible duo of this IPL. Between them, they have had 100 hits to boundary and beyond. Both teams cannot afford their strength to fade away on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar in his column in The Times Of India writes that it was good to see India’s two new-ball prospects bowling in tandem and while Varun Aaron coming from injury will take a few matches to hit top speed, Umesh Yadav clocked 150 kph regularly. “The manner in which he got two of the world’s best players of fast bowling hurrying their shots was a sight to behold. He got both Kallis and Mc-Cullum attempting to pull a short ball that was too quick for them. He and Aaron need to be handled with kid gloves for they are a rarity like the polar bear in India, genuinely quick bowlers who must not be overworked,” writes Gavaskar.

Against the Knight Riders, Virender Sehwag and David Warner were reunited as openers. The two are unique yet similar in many ways, writes Amrit Mathur in his column in Hindustan Times. “The bowlers fear them, knowing both will not spare even the good deliveries. The two belong to the see-ball-hit-shot school of batting and are not known to waste time at the crease,” writes Mathur, adding that not just their batting, even their bats are similar.

“Viru plays with a customised SG with a VS 319 sticker at the back to mark his highest Test score. He is fussy about the balance and pick-up, and the two-pound 7 willow has a chunky bottom. Viru holds the bat low down, like Tendulkar, almost near the shoulder and uses a thickish grip. On slow wickets, he occasionally changes the bat, opting for a slightly heavier one to force the pace. Warner’s weapon is not much different, except the two-pound 7 weight is more evenly spread out. What is striking about his Gray Nicolls “kaboom” is the bat handle, so thin it is almost a stick. “I have very small hands,” he explained, “so anything else would be a problem to grip.”

Meanwhile Dwayne Smith, who scored 14 runs of last three balls to give Mumbai Indians a brilliant win against Chennai Super Kings, said that he was pleased about what he was able to do on his first evening in IPL. “But I’m over that now. I’m looking into the next game (against Team Bangalore on Wednesday), and hope to make an even bigger impact, and win more matches for Mumbai,” he said, according to a TOI report.