Here we go again – The Indian Premier League (IPL), is set to begin its 13th season in the UAE from September 19th, 2020. After an inevitable delay due to the COVID19 pandemic, the cricketing fraternity from India and all around the world is keen on witnessing the annual T20 carnival. IPL this year is also set to have a new title sponsor, Dream 11 to grace the occasion. The league has been in and around the news for almost two months now and with all sanctions achieved, one only waits for it to commence.
Each team this season will only be allowed a total of 24 players, select support staff and only 10 net bowlers to travel along. Moreover, each player will have to undergo a strict quarantine and routine tests before training as well as due course. Having said, every single franchise, every single player and every single fan is ready to play and support his/her favorite team. Here’s a series with an individual look at the capabilities, balance, strengths and weaknesses of the eight IPL teams.
Mumbai Indians had a forgettable outing in the first season but the graph has only risen since then. So much that the team is inarguably the most successful team of all times. With four IPL triumphs, the MI team is an inseparable family consisting of a few of the world’s finest T20 talents. They are known to be slow starters who pick up pace and momentum as the tournament progresses. It will be interesting to see their approach this year in foreign conditions. As always is the case though, the MIPaltan is surely up for a treat.
The leader in Rohit Sharma has been impressive, thoughtful and most importantly, effective. Not only has he guided Mumbai to two IPL titles, but has also given his players enough freedom and opportunities to express. It would be fair to also credit the culture that the team has created over the years. The number of match-winners and international cricketers the team has produced over the last decade is exemplary to the same. The other aspect of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy is his control over the game overall. Most times, even in crunch situations, Rohit is seen marshalling his troops quite efficiently.
Champions, IPL 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
Transfers and New Buys:
Mumbai Indians were landed a bonus when they managed to trade Trent Boult from Delhi in the pre-season transfer. They also backed him up by picking Nathan Coulter-Nile in the auction. The duo along with James Pattinson, the late addition adds depth to the fast bowling squad in the absence of Lasith Malinga. The Indian talents of Digvijay Deshmukh, Mohsin Khan, Balwant Rai Singh and Anmolpreet Singh will also have a lot to learn from the Mumbai Indians camp. Wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few of them get a game in the later half of the tournament either.
Mumbai Indians this year also landed with a fascinating buy at the auction, the one of Chris Lynn. The ‘Lynnsanity’ as is called in the Big Bash would be keen on taking the UAE by storm. The other acquired options in Sherfane Rutherford, Anukul Roy, Jayant Yadav and Fabian Allen would also be raring to go. How many of them will find a place on the side? Only time has answers.
Strengths, Key Players:
There only exist a handful teams in the entire cricketing world that possess massive strengths in every single department. Mumbai Indians is undisputedly one of those teams. They have a flourishing top order and an aggressive and capable middle order with the bat and a well-rounded attack with the ball. Moreover, their fielding is also capable of pulling miracles in crisis situations.
The batting side led by Ro-HITMAN Sharma has de Kock, Pollard, Suryakumar and the Pandya brothers at its disposal. Each of them has been a part of the Mumbai setup for a while now and are well known with their responsibilities. Interestingly Mumbai’s No. 4,5,6 are all capable of chipping in with overs with the ball if required. Not only does it give the captain more choices to go to but also allows Mumbai to play an extra floater batsman at 7 if needed. The all-rounders are set to support the lethal bowling attack comprising Bumrah, Boult, Coulter-Nile, McCleneghan and Rahul Chahar. Though only one of the Kiwis is expected to make the cut on most days, the internal competition between players is a healthy routine to have.
All of it also sets up a good bench for the Mumbai players. The likes of Ishan Kishan, Jayant Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary are all experienced campaigners. Overall, the team seems to be in perfect shape and balance and that is the biggest armour that Mumbai possess in the arsenal.
The pitches at Wankhede are batting-friendly allowing the ball to come onto the bat nicely. However, the ones in UAE are likely to be on a slower side. Mumbai Indians have only gone in with limited spinning options in a department primarily led by the young Rahul Chahar. Krunal Pandya, effective spinner himself, is another option but Mumbai have only a few options to look beyond that. Both Anukul Roy and Jayant Yadav have been in and around the circuit for a while but have seldom got a game.
The last time Mumbai played in the UAE in 2014, they lost all the 6 matches they played. The defending champions would therefore be keen on changing these stats to the best of their abilities. Mahela Jayawardene who took the reins of the team as the Head Coach this season would hope for another successful season for the franchise. Given that there are no major mishaps, Mumbai Indians not qualifying for the playoffs is highly unlikely.
Mumbai Indians Squad:
Rohit Sharma (C), Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah. Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Fabian Allen, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav. Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aditya Tare.
ICN360’s Best Possible Mumbai XI:
Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard. Hardik Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile/Fabian Allen, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah.