With a combination of world-class all-rounders, lethal pacers and destructive top-order batsmen, Rohit Sharma's side seem to have all bases covered for IPL 2021. They strengthened their squad even further in the 2021 player auction, which was held in February earlier this year.
Although MI have topped any list of IPL 2021 predictions, fans of the franchise may be in for an unwelcome shock this year, as the 5-time IPL champions may not be able to make it three titles in a row. Here are 3 reasons why MI will not win IPL 2021.
#3 The law of averages and complacency
No cricketer or team is excused from following the law of averages. With two title triumphs in as many seasons, MI have achieved success that was never seen before.
Yes, the Chennai Super Kings were the first team to defend their IPL crown, but the league wasn't as competitive then. And MS Dhoni's men weren't as dominant as MI currently are, even if they too had a number of match-winners on the roster.
The law of averages is bound to catch up with MI sooner or later, especially in a tournament where a single win could be the difference between a top-two spot and not making the playoffs altogether.
Complacency is another factor MI have to be wary of. With batsmen till No. 8 and unplayable bowlers, MI are bound to be a touch overconfident. And this could prove to be their downfall in IPL 2021.
#2 MI's spin attack doesn't inspire confidence
MI's spin attack looked far from solid last year, and they attempted to address this issue in the 2021 IPL auction.
Veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla made his way to the side, beefing up the spin department while giving Rahul Chahar some competition for his place in the side. Jayant Yadav, Anukul Roy and Krunal Pandya are the other spin options in the side, but the attack overall doesn't really inspire confidence.
Krunal has been taken to the cleaners quite often in the recent past. He is nearly incapable of bowling to left-handers and is often far too defensive. Yadav and Roy aren't expected to make the MI playing XI in IPL 2021, despite the latter being on the back of an outstanding domestic season. Chahar should pip Chawla to a place in the XI, but even he has blown hot and cold in the recent past.
With MI playing a combined 9 games in Chennai and Delhi, their spinners have to be at the top of their game. And at the moment, that doesn't seem very likely.
#1 Key players aren't in great form
A number of key MI players aren't in great form in the lead-up to the IPL, and a slow start could completely derail their campaign.
Captain Rohit Sharma was one of the standout performers in the Test series against England, but his form tapered off in the white-ball leg. He managed only 1 fifty in the 8 limited-overs innings he played, and got out to a myriad of poor shots.
Barring an 80 in the recent ODI against Pakistan, Quinton de Kock has scored more than 30 zero times in his last 11 international innings. The South African wicket-keeper is no more the captain, and that decision seems to have mentally taken a toll on him.
Kieron Pollard smashed 6 sixes in an over during a T20I against Sri Lanka, but the West Indies white-ball captain hasn't put in many performances of note otherwise. Jasprit Bumrah, meanwhile, is short of match practice, having missed a significant portion of India's recent matches.
Except for Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, no MI player comes into IPL 2021 in world-beating form. The other teams, however, have a number of players firing on all cylinders.