Rayudu to bat at No.3 for next two games: Ponting

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Mumbai, April 19 (IANS) Mumbai Indians’ head coach Ricky Ponting on Tuesday said batsman Ambati Rayudu, who struck a half-century in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad will continue at the No.3 position for the next two games.

After getting off to a losing start to their campaign against Rising Pune Supergiants, defending champions Mumbai came back strongly with a thumping win over Kolkata Knight Riders, but suffered consecutive losses against Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad to have them tottering in the seventh position in the standings with two points from four games.

“With Rohit (Sharma) going up to open we did not have a specialist No.3 batsman, as (Jos) Buttler and (Kieron) Pollard normally bats at No.4 and No.5. Rayudu has excelled when he had batted down the order for MI. Rayudu also batted well at No.6 earlier with Pollard so we had only option to give Hardik (Pandya) to bat at No.3,”” Ponting said at the pre-match press conference ahead of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Wednesday.

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“But the experiment for us at No.3 didn’t work. So we put Rayudu at No.3 when Rohit decided to bat at No.4 and Rayudu played very well in the last game. So Rayudu will stay at No.3 for next few games.”

“In different situations we were been able to fight our way back into the game, but we were not been able to dominate the game, right from the outset and that we are trying to do in the next game. And if we can do that against RCB who are a very good side, then the boys can take a bit of confidence from that,” the World Cup-winning Australian skipper added.

Mumbai’s star batsman Lendl Simmons and leading pacer Lasith Malinga has been ruled out of the cash-rich tournament after injury and Ponting believes it is a big blow for the side.

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“Things haven’t been gone our way so far. Lendl has been ruled out of the tournament who has been one of our leading run getter in the IPL in past two seasons. His partnership with Parthiv did set up very well for the middle order to bat freely. Malinga being ruled out of the tournament is a big loss to us,” he said.

“Pollard also coming after injury and having not played so many cricket matches for long. All those are factors but we don’t use those as reasons. So we have to see what group of players we select and hope those players eventually click for us,” Ponting added.

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