It is safe to say that Mumbai Indians (MI) were head and shoulders above all the other teams in the IPL 2020 season. Defending an IPL title is never easy and only Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had managed it until that point.
Moreover, the four titles that Mumbai Indians had won in the past were all in odd years (2013,2015,2017,2019). Not many people really gave them a chance to defend their title, especially in the UAE where there was no home advantage.
This belief became even stronger when MI lost to CSK in their opening game. But things turned dramatically and the defending champions flexed their muscles in style.
Mumbai Indians only lost four more games all season, with two of them being close defeats which came down to a Super Over. This speaks volumes about their dominance last year. Each time they were put under pressure, the Mumbai Indians had different match-winners who would raise their hands and deliver.
5 players from Mumbai Indians to watch out for in IPL 2021
With the mega auction set to happen before the IPL season next year, IPL 2021 might probably be the best chance Mumbai Indians will ever get to complete a hat-trick of titles. Here are 5 players from this star-studded team who could help the Mumbai Indians win the IPL 2021 title.
#5 Quinton de Kock
There was a time when Quinton de Kock was a highly underrated T20 opener. He was released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after a mediocre IPL 2018 season and was traded-in by the Mumbai Indians, who wanted a suitable opening partner for Rohit Sharma.
MI have generally been excellent with trades and this was another masterstroke from their think tank. De Kock proved to be the ideal foil for Rohit as his counter-attacking brand of batting helped the Mumbai Indians skipper get his eye in.
With 529 runs in IPL 2019, de Kock was one of the main reasons behind MI's fourth title win. IPL 2020 didn't start well for the Proteas batsman as he looked scratchy and out of touch for the first few games. But he turned into an absolute beast as the tournament progressed and racked up 503 runs last year.
With more than a thousand runs in just two seasons, de Kock has arguably been MI's most impactful batsman. He will be a key asset for the defending champions this time around and will be keen to put in yet another stellar season.
#4 Jasprit Bumrah
One of the main reasons why the Mumbai Indians were not put under severe pressure by opposition batting teams for most of the tournament was because of the effectiveness of their new ball bowlers. Both Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult were sensational and, more often than not, picked wickets up front.
Bumrah, over the last five years, has grown into a world-class bowler across all formats. But IPL 2020 was his most prolific season in an MI shirt, as he scalped an incredible 27 wickets in 15 games. At an economy of just 6.73, Bumrah was simply too difficult for the opposition batsmen to attack.
A big-match player, Mumbai Indians have always counted on Bumrah to deliver in crunch situations. He will continue to be their main weapon in the bowling department. However, the pacer might take a bit of time to get back into rhythm, given he is coming back from a break.
Nevertheless, Bumrah will continue to be a threat to the opposition in the IPL 2021 season. It will be interesting to see whether he is able to match his outstanding displays from last season.
#3 Hardik Pandya
Last season was an odd to begin with for Hardik Pandya, as he had just returned from an injury and wasn't going to bowl for Mumbai Indians. Many fans and analysts had their doubts about playing Hardik as a specialist batsman.
However, he put all doubts to bed with his sensational power-hitting. His unbelievable ability to get underneath the ball and deposit it into the stands helped MI become the most destructive team in the last five overs.
Although he scored just 281 runs last season, it came at a mind-boggling strike-rate of 178.98. He has also recently returned to bowling regularly for India. This is a huge boost for Mumbai Indians as they can now go in with six proper bowling options.
Probably at the peak of his prowess, it will be interesting to see what Hardik Pandya - the all-rounder - brings to the table in IPL 2021.
#2 Suryakumar Yadav
By smashing Jofra Archer for a six off his very first ball in international cricket, Suryakumar Yadav gave a clear indication of how he plays his cricket. He has been one of the most reliable batsmen for the Mumbai Indians in the past three seasons and has delivered whenever they require him to.
Batting as an opener or in the middle-order, Suryakumar performed in all positions and scored a mammoth 1416 runs for Mumbai Indians over the past three years. He deservedly received his maiden India call-up and left his mark with a T20I fifty against England.
With a spot in India's T20 World Cup squad surely within his reach, Suryakumar Yadav will be hopeful of yet another prolific season with the bat for the defending champions in IPL 2021.
#1 Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma has been with the Mumbai Indians for the past ten years and has been the most successful IPL captain in the tournament's history, with five titles to his name. Unfortunately, as a batsman, he has never won an Orange Cap.
But that can be attributed to the fact that he has always put his team first and batted in positions from where he could play the anchor's role. Once Rohit Sharma gets going, there is no better sight in world cricket.
Opening the batting again, Rohit Sharma had a mixed bag as far as IPL 2020 was concerned. He was injured midway through the tournament and had to miss a few games.
But that didn't stop him from playing a match-winning knock in the final against the Delhi Capitals. The 33-year-old still scored 332 runs in the previous campaign and formed a formidable opening combination with De Kock.
With IPL 2021 on the horizon, Rohit Sharma will be hoping to make consistent contributions at the top of the order. His captaincy has been top-notch in crunch situations and he will be keen to win his sixth IPL title for MI this season.