The last time Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings met in Dubai a fortnight ago, Mohit Sharma applied the brakes on the Rohit Sharma-leg side with his well-disguised slower deliveries. Batsman after batsman, four in all in that match, failed to read his slower ones that were delivered from the back of the hand.
The 25-year-old Mohit from Haryana took four for 14 in that match. Three outings prior to that, he had taken only two wickets. But from that match against Mumbai Indians, he owned the purple Cap with 14 wickets from eight matches until Sunrisers Hyderabad's Bhuvneshwar Kumar overtook him on Thursday. Though both have the same number of wickets, Bhuvaneshwar has a better average, 10.71 to Mohit's 15.50.
Mohit has been one of the lesser-known bowlers who has made headlines this season. His scalps this season include Kevin Pietersen for a first-ball duck, Aaron Finch, Kieron Pollard besides other frontline batsmen. Mohit has been more effective in the death overs, mixing his slower ones to catch the batsmen, going for pre-medidated big hits, unawares.
Chennai coach Stephen Fleming was pleased with Mohit's success. He said on Friday: "When we introduced Mohit last year in IPL, he showed he was capable of doing pretty good things though he had not been exposed to high end cricket. Since then, he played for India, played in ICC World T20 (in Bangladesh).
"He has come back to us after learning some new tricks. And we're benefitting from it. He would get better with experience and once he starts to understand how well he could be. I am very happy with Mohit's performance."
Mohit could make an impact at the Wankhede on Saturday, considering the conditions where slower bowlers have better success here.
Mumbai captain Rohit and his team will be wiser with the experience of having dealt with Mohit previously. Rohit said he was not focussing on just Mohit but other CSK bowlers as well. "Mohit is bowling really well, but they've got other bowlers who're doing well. I don't want to single out any particular bowler. We want to concentrate on their bowling attack completely, not just one individual because you never know one bowler can take a game away from you."