Mumbai Indians are expected to have another brilliant season after an excellent auction last year.

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Season preview

Four-time title winners and defending champions Mumbai Indians have a terrific squad and a winning record in the recent history of the Indian Premier League. Led by the charismatic Rohit Sharma, whose astute leadership qualities have come to the fore several times, Mumbai Indians have a top-notch squad consisting of revolutionary batsmen, big-hitting all-rounders and terrific death bowlers.

A dramatic one-run win against Chennai Super Kings in last season's final failed to bring a few flaws in this Mumbai outfit. However, the auctions saw them bolster their squad with more options, and this time around, they have assembled a truly strong unit. They were title winners in 2017 and 2019 but missed out on the playoffs in 2018 by losing eight of the 14 league games.

Last 3 seasons - WIN/LOSS record

2017 - 12 wins, 5 losses

2018 - 6 wins, 8 losses

2019 - 11 wins, 5 losses

Interestingly, their last eight seasons have been a mix of great title wins alternated by less than convincing performances. They finished fourth in 2012, one year before their first title win, and in 2014, once again finished fourth. In 2015, they won the title again but it was followed by a fifth-placed finish. The cycle repeated again as in 2017 they won the title and in 2018 they finished fifth. After the 2019 title, their fourth, Mumbai's challenge will be to break the trend.

Squad

Rohit Sharma, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Aditya Tare, James Pattinson

Top run-scorers (last 3 seasons)

Rohit Sharma - 1024 runs

Suryakumar Yadav - 936 runs

Hardik Pandya - 912 runs

Top wicket-takers (last 3 seasons)

Jasprit Bumrah - 56 wickets

Hardik Pandya - 38 wickets

Mitchell McCleneghan - 36 wickets

Strengths

Big-hitters and death bowling remains Mumbai's biggest strengths. Adding to the formidable big-hitting array of Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya is Chris Lynn this season after he was acquired at the auction. In Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav, they have consolidators capable of teeing off after they get starts. This varied batting strength has helped Mumbai post big totals and also chase pretty well.

The death bowling led by the menacing duo of Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah showed that chasing against Mumbai is no easy task. However, with Malinga out of the season, MI will look to identify options to partner Bumrah in the death. Recognising that Mitchell McCleneghan is past his prime, Mumbai added firepower in the form of Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Dhawal Kulkarni, making their fast bowling stocks the best in the league.

Weaknesses

An evident weakness, if anything, in Mumbai Indians, is the spin department. Led by Krunal Pandya and backed up by Jayant Yadav and Rahul Chahar, there is a distinct lack of game-changing spinners with experience. Anukul Roy, the other spinner, and Chahar are relatively inexperienced while Krunal lacks wicket-taking abilities. Jayant isn't a certain starter in the line-up either. This spin issue could flare up on the drier wickets in UAE.

Season prediction

Mumbai made some excellent strides in forming the perfect squad at this year's auction. They have the strongest squad in the league and have match-winners across disciplines, making them favourites to make it to the finals, if not just qualify to the play-offs.