13 seasons into the Indian T20 League, it's pretty evident that Mumbai know how to win. They have won with their death bowling, their death slogging, their Powerplay batting and their middle-overs six-hitting. But in 2020, Mumbai are showcasing a skill that the best T20 sides in the world ought to have - hunting teams down in the Powerplay with the ball.
While Powerplay batting and death overs bowling is often a subject of huge discussion, often discounted is the role early wickets play in a 20-overs game. You get the opposition three down inside the Powerplay and the chances of them coming back from it are pretty slim. You get the opposition three down with zero on the board and they are essentially out of the contest already.
That's exactly what Mumbai implemented to the T against Delhi in the first qualifier of the Indian T20 League to race to the finals. Mumbai had Delhi reeling at 0/3 with their top three batsmen back in the hut. It didn't matter that Mumbai had 200 on board or that Delhi batted fairly deep. From 0/3 - an unseen score at the fall of three wickets in the history of the league - there's no coming back for most teams.
Mumbai have thrived on early wickets in the season. Trent Boult, the architect alongside Jasprit Bumrah in triggering this early collapse, has seven wickets in the first over of this season of the Indian T20 League. Jasprit Bumrah has five wickets in the second over in the 2020 season.
That's 12 wickets between their top two bowlers inside the first two overs. In the Powerplay, Mumbai have taken 28 wickets in the season, the most by any team. 13 of those 28 have come inside the first two overs. The next best teams are Punjab and Hyderabad with 7. Mumbai hunt the opposition down early and hurt them with big wickets up front.
The value of wickets in the Powerplay often go understated and Mumbai do it to reduce the scoring rate too. In the Powerplay, no team has conceded at a lesser economy rate than Mumbai's 7.02.
Pivotal to the plan has been Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. The two lynchpins in the attack, Boult and Bumrah were used in tandem to destroy opponent sides early even at the cost of losing an extra over from Bumrah later in the match.
In the Powerplay, Bumrah has seven wickets this season of the Indian T20 League - the most he has ever taken in any one season of the league. He has bowled 96 balls in the first six overs this season, taking wickets at an economy rate of less than six.
Trent Boult, meanwhile, has most wickets in the Powerplay this season with 14 of them coming inside the first six overs. 12 of those 14 come inside the first three overs when the ball is new and the batting side are yet to get set. The early blows have been clinical to Mumbai's performance this season and could well land them the title win.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Mumbai