Mumbai Indians (MI) have achieved unparalleled success in the history of the tournament. In 13 years, they have as many as five titles to their credit. The achievement seems all the more incredible once placed in context. MI had nothing to show for their efforts from 2008 to 2012. In the eight seasons thereafter, they have won 5- how is that for domination! The Blue and Gold Brigade have been rated as the best T20 franchise in the world with several commentators believing it to be capable enough to beat the Indian team if they were to face off against them. Ahead of the 14th edition then, the question for MI is how to improve one of the most successful IPL campaigns of all-time.
Looking back at IPL 2020
MI were ruthless in 2020. So much was the difference between the best and the second best team of the tournament that Mumbai defeated the other finalist Delhi Capitals four times last year, each time as convincing, if not more, than the other. Not only did they finished on top of the table with 18 points from 14 matches in the league stage, they almost fielded a second-string side in their last league game, resting the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult and despite the defeat secured a berth in the finals. They later defeated DC twice in the Playoffs.
Having won two back to back titles, MI will certainly look to go for a historic hat-trick, the first in IPL and if there is one team that can do it, it has to be the Rohit Sharma led side.
There is so much depth in that Mumbai squad that the other franchises would be more than willing to spend all their purse to stitch together a similar squad. Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Panyda, Hardik Panyda are all run-away match winners in their own regard. In fact, put them in any order, the MI batting line up looks as threatening as ever. Even if one manages to get past them, there is Nathan Coulter Nile, whom MI claimed back in the squad for lesser money in a smart move after releasing him earlier, who is no muck with the bat either.
As far as their bowling is concerned, the addition of Trent Boult was the game changer tactical move from them prior to last season. Along with Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya, he forms a formidable bowling attack. Perhaps they were only lacking in experience in the spin department, addressing which they have roped in Piyush Chawla in their ranks. In addition they also have the added option of Arjun Tendulkar, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham and Marco Jansen in their squad this year. While Arjun could be a handy bet for a domestic slot, Adam Milne and Marco Jansen might get a game based on the conditions. Neesham will add to the rich reserves of the talented all-rounders in Mumbai Indians dugout and may well have to wait for his turn initially.
One of the main reasons for Mumbai Indians doing well in the IPL is the leadership group they have managed to set. While Rohit Sharma has been spot on with his tactics on the field, Mahela Jayawardene has done no wrong in his role as the head coach. With the likes of Zaheer Khan, Shane Bond and other veterans part of the setup, the youngsters in the squad have plenty of brains to pick and learn the art of performing in high-pressure situations. Even in Rohit's absence for a few games last season, Kieron Pollard did a terrific job as stand in skipper and it never appeared that MI were lacking their captain.
Rohit Sharma: Matches- 200 | Runs- 5230 | SR- 130.61 | Avg- 31.31
Kieron Pollard: Matches- 164 | Runs- 3023 | SR- 149.87 | Avg- 29.93
Jasprit Bumrah: Matches- 92 | Wickets- 109 | ER- 7.41 | Best- 4/14
Trent Boult: Matches- 48 | Wickets- 63 | ER- 8.53 | Best- 4/18
Players to watch out for
Quinton de Kock: Matches- 66 | Runs- 1959 | SR- 133.53 | Avg- 133.53
Ishan Kishan: Matches- 51 | Runs- 1211 | SR- 136.83 | Avg- 28.83
Suryakumar Yadav: Matches- 101 | Runs- 2024 | SR- 134.57 | Avg- 30.20
Hardik Pandya: Matches- 80 | Runs-1349 | SR- 159.26 | Avg- 29.97 | Wickets- 42
Full Mumbai Indians Squad for IPL 2021
Rohit Sharma (c), Aditya Tare, Anukul Roy, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Mohsin Khan, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Tiwary, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Jimmy Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, Arjun Tendulkar