Hyderabad: Mumbai Indian’s fortunes in the Indian Premier League are mostly hinged to the form of their skipper Rohit Sharma. If he scores, MI will have a good season. The journey of the Mumbai-based franchise in IPL has been unpredictable so far.
One season, they will come out triumphant and the next, they falter. Although they have won three titles – same as Chennai Super Kings – Mumbai have failed to show the consistency of the Chennai team. While the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side had made it to the qualifiers every season, Mumbai have associated themselves with inconsistency. They are usually slow starters but pick up the pace mid-way before pressing the full throttle at business end of the tournament.
Last year Mumbai entered as defending champions but instead they had a forgettable season.
They finished at the fifth place. They won just six matches in the entire season. Rohit was completely off-colour in the season as he managed just 286 runs in 14 matches with a below-par average of 23. The fact that Surya Kumar Yadav (with 512 runs) was their top scorer and the only one in the top 15 of the IPL batting chart tells the sorry state of their poor campaign.
Like every season, this year too MI squad boasts of a strong unit which, if clicks in unison, can go the distance. In Rohit Sharma, they have one of the prolific run scorers in the side. MI made a smart move at the auctions, roping in South Africa’s dashing wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. They struggled to find the right opening combination and de Kock can provide a solution to their woes at the top of the batting order. His work behind the wickets is also impressive.
They continued their long-term association with Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga, who donned the role of a mentor last season, for his base price of Rs 2 crore. They have also gambled in veteran Yuvraj Singh, who went unsold in the first two rounds of the auction, for Rs 1 crore. However, both Malinga and Yuvraj are past their prime and how well they will be utilised is a million-dollar question.
The presence of Suyra Kumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard in the middle will add fire power to their batting unit while the Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal – give depth. It is to be seen how Hardik will fare this season after the controversial reality show with Karan Johar. He is also recuperating from an injury after the comeback. With World Cup fast approaching, it is the best opportunity for the all-rounder to get into a good rhythm ahead of the quadrangular show piece.
The bowling department too looks strong with Jasprit Bumrah leading the attack. MI have three left arm seamers in Barinder Sran, Jason Behrendorff (Australia) and Mitchell McClenaghan (New Zealand) and fast bowler Adam Milne (New Zealand), who add variety to their attack.
In Krunal Pandya and leg spinner Mayank Markande, MI have covered all their bases. However, much will depend on the way they start the season though. If Rohit gets going from the start, MI will be one of the strongest contenders for the title this year too.