Mumbai Indians are expected to have another brilliant season after an excellent auction last year.
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 the final of the last season 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 play-offs 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 4th in 2012, one year before their first title win and in 2014, once again finished 4th. In 2015 they won the title again, but it was followed by a 5th placed finish. The cycle repeated again as in 2017 they won the title and in 2018 they finished 5th. After the 2019 title, their fourth, Mumbai's challenge will be to break the trend.
Rohit Sharma, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, 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
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
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. At the back end against Mumbai, opposition sides will have a hard time and it remains their match-winning tactic to-date. Recognising that Mitchell McCleneghan is past his prime, Mumbai added firepower in the form of Trent Boult and Dhawal Kulkarni, making their fast bowling stocks the best in the league.
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 summer wickets in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru.
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.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam