Five-time champions Mumbai Indians had their worst run ever in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They finished at the very bottom of the table with just four wins from their 14 matches. It was a season marked with plenty of trouble in all departments, as has been the case for many teams after mega-auctions.
Their auction strategy was questionable too, pulling out of the bidding just when they were on the brink of snapping up players like Yuzvendra Chahal and Josh Hazelwood.
Despite having the likes of India skipper Rohit Sharma, ace speedster Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav, the Mumbai outfit failed to find a settled XI throughout the tournament.
Their openers failed to get them off to a brisk start. The middle order collapsed more often than not and the bowlers leaked plenty of runs, apart from their failure to pick wickets - resulting in an eight-match losing streak.
However, all was not lost for the Mumbai-based franchise. Despite a season that they would like to forget, there have been a few positives. On that note, here are four auction buys by the Mumbai Indians that turned out to be masterstrokes.
4. Dewald Brevis
Fondly nicknamed as 'Baby AB' for his batting style, which is similar to AB de Villiers, Dewald Brevis was one of the first players to be snapped up by the Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2022 Auction. Coming on the back of a Player of the Tournament award in the ICC U19 World Cup, expectations were high.
Although Brevis played just seven games, he showed glimpses of what he is capable of. Scoring at a strike-rate of 142.47, Brevis scored 161 runs which included a blistering innings of 49 runs against the Punjab Kings.
With the middle order changing constantly, Brevis never really got a fixed position to play at and express himself fully. Mumbai Indians will surely be looking to give him a longer rope next edition.
3. Daniel Sams
Daniel Sams had a season of two halves. Initially, the left-arm quick failed to make an impact, being taken to the cleaners time and again, especially in the death overs. This resulted in him getting dropped from the playing XI.
However, Sams made a stellar comeback in the game against CSK. He picked up a four-fer and then defended nine runs in the last over of their next encounter, against the Gujarat Titans.
The 29-year-old finished with 13 wickets from 11 games and was Mumbai Indians’ second-highest wicket-taker behind Jasprit Bumrah. In fact, Sams became the skipper’s go-to bowler when he needed a wicket.
Along with the ball, Sams contributed with the bat as well, remaining not out on three occasions and adding finishing touches to the innings. With Jofra Archer expected to join the squad next season, Sams will be an exciting prospect to complement and support the Bumrah-Archer duo.
2. Tim David
Tim David’s journey this season has been similar to Daniel Sams’. Mumbai Indians broke the bank for the explosive batter, shelling out a hefty ₹8.25 crores to acquire his services.
After two poor performances, David was dropped in favour of Dewald Brevis. However, as Kieron Pollard's poor form continued to plague the side, they decided to go back to David in a bid to get better finishes.
The Singapore-born batter repaid the faith shown in him with some impressive efforts, striking at 216.67 for the 186 runs he finished with. His innings against the Titans and the ones in the team's last two matches helped Mumbai massively.
Mumbai Indians might well decide to continue with David, who promises to be a like-for-like replacement for Kieron Pollard in the batting and fielding department.
1. Tilak Varma
Tilak Varma was absolutely sensational in the 15th edition of the IPL. He was one of the few players who consistently played well for Mumbai, going about his business in a calm and collected manner. The skipper was all praise for Varma and admired the maturity with which the 19-year-old played.
The southpaw single-handedly rescued Mumbai from a middle order collapse more than once. In 14 games, he scored 397 runs at a healthy strike-rate of over 130.
In a season where MI's batting crumbled, Varma’s performances were a ray of hope. With solid technique and a steady temperament, Varma promises to be a huge asset for the Mumbai Indians in the future.
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