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Are Team Mumbai equipped to win their sixth Indian T20 League title?

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Record Indian T20 League champions, Team Mumbai will look to defend their title when the competition returns to familiar conditions this year. The five-time champions open their campaign against Team Bangalore on Friday, April 9 and would certainly want to set the winning momentum right from the beginning.

The team showed no signs of anomaly whatsoever last season despite playing in unfamiliar territory and one can rightly expect the 14th season to be more of the same. The team has a perfect opportunity to win their third Indian T20 League crown on the trot and here we analyse what they have in the offering for the 2021 season.

Team Mumbai squad

The good thing for Team Mumbai ahead of the mini-auction in February was there were only a few issues that needed a solution. After having retained their core group of players like Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, the team simply didn’t have to spend a lot.

Their most expensive buy was fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was bought for 5 crore INR, followed by Adam Milne (3.2 crore INR) and Piyush Chawla (2.4 crore INR). Here’s how their squad looks like.

Mumbai squad for Indian T20 League 2021: Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Aditya Tare, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter Nile, Piyush Chawla, James Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, Arjun Tendulkar.

Team Mumbai strength and weakness 

Strength:

Mumbai’s strength has to be their quality batting line-up, which goes as deep as number 7. These seven men are rightly capable of turning the tide at any point in the match. Right from Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock’s opening partnership to Krunal Pandya’s hard-hitting prowess in the lower middle-order, Mumbai arguably have one of the best batsmen of the league. Last season, Mumbai’s batting order from #4-#7 accumulated 1108 runs, which was the second-best return amongst any other team in the competition.

And that certainly isn’t it. The record Indian T20 League champions also have three quality all-rounders in Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard in their rank too; a luxury that the other teams are completely devoid of. It’s hard to see Mumbai struggling for batting in the 2021 season too, given the form the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan are in.

Weakness:

It’s hard to pinpoint any particular weakness in Team Mumbai, but if one is to dig deep, the lack of quality Indian pacers may haunt the team at any given point. Even their collective pace-bowling attacking hasn’t been oozing the same kind of confidence since Lasith Malinga decided to hang up his boots.

Now, Trent Boult was indeed amongst wickets last season but that came at an expense of an economy of almost 8. Same goes with Nathan Coulter-Nile, who played just seven games last season and went for 7.92 runs per over. When you look at it, the team does not really have viable replacements, to say the least, with Dhawal Kulkarni being the only other option. All this means Jasprit Bumrah will once again have to shoulder the responsibility. 

Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Mumbai?

There were as many as three players from Team Mumbai who had scored more than 400 runs in the competition, with Ishan Kishan piping all by scoring 516 runs at an impressive average of 57.33. This season, however, Suryakumar Yadav might very well be the wrecker-in-chief. The middle-order batsman has been in a fine run of form and will certainly look to cement a place in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup with a fine return in the domestic extravaganza. 

Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Mumbai?

Well, that’s a no-brainer. No one in Mumbai’s squad inflicts more damage to the opposition with the ball than Jasprit Bumrah. The pacer scalped 27 wickets last year and that came at an impressive average and economy of 14.96 and 6.73 respectively. One can rightly expect Bumrah to do similar damage this season.

Where will Team Mumbai finish in Indian T20 League 2021?

Judging by the team Mumbai have on papers, it is safe to say that they could well and truly defend their title in the second year running. The team has a perfect balance of treacherous batsmen and bowlers of equal capabilities, and we expect them to at least finish the league stage at the top of the table.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam

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