Mumbai Indians enjoy the honour of being the most successful franchise in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a staggering victory of four editions out of the twelve played so far.
After a few lacklustre early seasons, the Mumbai franchise bounced back quite commendably and have won a title every alternate year starting from 2013. The biggest factor contributing to this has been the decision to appoint Rohit Sharma as the skipper of the team.
Mumbai Indians will be going into the thirteenth season of the IPL as the defending champions and will be looking to continue their winning streak. They have a star-studded team with a good mix of youthful energy and mature sagacity that holds tremendous promise. Given this accomplished squad, avid fans are in no mood to compromise and will not settle for anything less than a trophy this season.
On that note, let us take a look at three reasons why Mumbai Indians are strong contenders for the title this season.
1. Solid Indian core
The Mumbai Indians have always possessed a strong Indian core, which has proved to be a vital cog in their success. This year too, MI has one of the strongest Indian contigents on paper. They have the likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, the Pandya brothers, Suryakumar Yadav and so on, who are proven match-winners.
Having a strong Indian core is of utmost importance to the team and even though the limelight is often on the foreign players, it is the competence and craft of the Indian players that determines the game's final outcome. With a strong nucleus of Indian cricketers, the Mumbai outfit will once again be looking to stamp their authority over the other teams this year.
2. Smart trades and buys
During the off-season, Mumbai Indians have managed to fortify their side even further. The defending IPL champions have traded in Trent Boult and Sherfane Rutherford from the Delhi Capitals along with speedster Dhawal Kulkarni from the Rajasthan Royals.
Apart from this, they have employed the services of Chris Lynn and Nathan Coulter-Nile through the auction, which may just give them the extra firepower in their batting and bowling respectively.
While the purchase of Lynn and Coulter-Nile will add to the selectors' headaches, management will be tempted to play Lynn at the top of the order, considering his terrific batting display in UAE.
The trade-in of Boult has been an astute decision considering that veteran Lasith Malinga will be missing most of the IPL, which would have otherwise left Jasprit Bumrah without a lethal bowling partner. Kulkarni will serve as a good back-up for Bumrah and may even get some games if the management decides to play Lynn along with Quinton de Kock at the top of the order.
3. Formidable overall side with good back-ups
Following last year's successful campaign, the Mumbai Indians have very marginally tweaked their squad. Consisting of twenty-four members, the squad looks very strong on paper with ample number of back-ups for each position.
Apart from their usual playing eleven, they have a good wicket-keeper in Aditya Tare, who is very proficient with the bat in the middle order. They have also bought Saurabh Tiwary, who may serve as a replacement to any middle-order batsman, should any injury befall them.
Anukul Roy is a like-for-like replacement for Krunal Pandya while Sherfane Rutherford can replace Kieron Pollard. Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohsin Khan and Dhawal Kulkarni further strengthen the pace battery that Mumbai possesses.
In conclusion, the Mumbai Indians side seems to have all its bases covered and looks poised for another successful season.Published 26 Aug 2020, 13:49 IST