I’m backing Mumbai to qualify for the play-offs

The IPL is heating up really nicely now, with the race for that fourth play-off spot well and truly on.

Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals will qualify, but there are four other teams vying to join them in the play-offs.

I wrote before the resumption of the IPL that Mumbai Indians need to avoid their typical slow start if they are to retain the title this year.

Well they did start slowly, but I think they might have turned it around just in time. After they beat Punjab Kings on Tuesday, I fancy them to take that fourth spot now.

Their match-winners are coming into form.

Hardik Pandya was in the runs, Jasprit Bumrah was in the wickets, and Kieron Pollard did a bit of both. He took a crucial wicket in his one over, just when it was asked of him, and he smashed 15 off seven to take his side home.

Things are just starting to turn for them, and if they get themselves into the knock-out stages then anything is possible.

IPL batters need to take more responsibility

Far too often at this tournament, batters are showing no responsibility for themselves and for their side.

As an elite batter, you have to be able to close the game out. That means taking risks where necessary, but showing the mental application and desire to help your side out of trouble, over the line or whatever it may be.

Rajasthan Royals were particular culprits against RCB on Wednesday. Evin Lewis got himself to 50 and then got out when he was capable of batting the duration of the innings and helping his side make a huge total.

Then, after a mini collapse, Rahul Tewatia and Liam Livingstone gave their wickets away when their side needed them to bat the overs.

If I was a team owner, I’d be fuming at how irresponsible a lot of the batting has been.

Others have done it, too. We haven’t seen a century in this IPL yet – we need to see batters become more ruthless and make the big scores.

Anyone can make a 50. Every batter in this competition is capable of making a 50, but to position yourself as an elite player you have to get those big scores and not outs.

Of course you have to take risks – it’s T20, and wickets are going to happen. But as a batter, you have to know your strengths, understand when to take the risks, and most importantly quickly learn how to be ruthless and not give it away.

There’s no secret to it. It’s just something you do if you’re an elite player. You want to be in the middle and scoring as many runs as possible.

I’m surprised and disappointed that we haven’t seen it more, particularly with a mega auction coming up after this tournament. Batters who go big in the last few weeks of this tournament could earn themselves a life-changing contract a few months down the line.

Glenn Maxwell was the first man to take a bit of responsibility in that RR v RCB match. He closed the game out properly, and that’s why he’s known as an elite T20 finisher.

If I was a team owner, I’d be fuming at how irresponsible a lot of the batting has been.

Mixed fortunes for Sunrisers’ overseas openers

David Warner just is Sunrisers Hyderabad, so it’s disheartening to see his love affair with the franchise unravelling like this.

He has scored so many runs for them over the years, captained them to the title, and has been at the heart and soul of everything that they do.

He looks totally disillusioned now, and there are clearly things happening behind the scenes that we don’t know about.

For Jason Roy to replace him and make a half-century in his first match, though, was very pleasing.

We see things happening out here that you guys don’t. Roy is committed to training, committed to the warm-up for every match and has thrown himself into IPL life.

I spoke to him after the first two games and he was bitterly disappointed not to be playing, but he just said: ‘Listen, I’m here, and this is great preparation for the T20 World Cup’.

He’d been practicing his backside off and now he’s got his chance, which is great news for Sunrisers and for England.

Visit Betway's cricket betting page.