Tendulkar, Malinga loom as big threats for Kochi


Tendulkar and Malinga have been in the forefront of Mumbai Indians' consecutive easy away wins over strong rivals Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the duo would be eyeing to carry on their impressive showing against debutante Kochi, who are yet to register a win in the event.

Tendulkar had been in sublime form right through the World Cup and the Indian icon has carried on his supreme touch in the ongoing Indian Premier League, which has resulted in two comfortable wins for Mumbai Indians in the tournament so far.

Tendulkar has played the anchoring role brilliantly at the top of the order, and used his vast knowledge and experience to accumulate runs later on to come up with unbeaten knocks of 48 and 55. Mumbai Indians top-order, in particular Ambati Rayudu who played a very good innings of 63 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore, have given Tendulkar very good support.

The bowlers, led by the unique-action Malinga, have also risen to the occasion in brilliant style to make it a superb all-round display for Mumbai Indians, who have won both their matches with plenty of wickets in hand. Malinga blew away Delhi with his toe-crushing and swinging yorkers for excellent figures of five for 13. Though he went for some runs in his second spell against Bangalore, his initial burst that got him two early wickets helped Mumbai restrict their southern rivals for a modest 140.

Others, including World Cup-winning Indian team members Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh, have also been on the dot for the Mumbai outfit. However, what Mumbai must be careful about is complacency and skipper Tendulkar has already cautioned his teammates after the thumping win over Bangalore two days ago.
"We have had a good beginning and we have to maintain the consistency as there is still a long way to go," he said after the nine-wicket triumph.

The champion cricketer also praised young Rayudu for his aggressive half-century, which should boost the Hyderabad youngster's confidence. Praise was also reserved for Malinga, who has become an integral part of the franchise after the owners decided to retain him and West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard for IPL IV.

"When we started to bowl, we had hoped the target to be a maximum of 140. Malinga again provided us a great start. We also fielded well and it was another superb team effort. The idea was to bowl as straight as possible and we did just that," Tendulkar had said after the win over Bangalore.

On the other hand, Kochi, in their inaugural season, have had a troubled beginning.

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