Mumbai Indians turned things around fantastically
Mumbai Indians (MI) played like a true champion side, showed character and were eventually crowned champions of the eighth season of Indian Premier League (IPL).
After losing five matches from first six of the season, no one would have imagined as to what was going to unfold in the coming days. Even many of their supporters turned away because their team was lying in the bottom of the table.
But soon after those initial losses, the undying spirit of Mumbai came into force and what happened next, is history. MI won 9 out of their 10 last games and claimed one of the greatest turnarounds in the IPL's short history. They defeated Chennai Super Kings (League table-topper) again in finals at the very same venue (Eden Gardens, Kolkata) where they both played two years back for the same precious IPL trophy.
But how did it all happen? What were the main reasons behind that golden turnaround after the horrifying start to the tournament? One important reason can be the all-round performance by each player which ensured the match was always in MI’s hands.
Starting from the top, Lendl Simmons (second leading run-scorer with 540 runs in 13 matches) was brought in by Rohit Sharma to join Parthiv Patel when opener Aaron Finch got injured. This changed the whole scenario of MI’s game, they started getting good starts. Both the openers looked composed and were hitting the ball perfectly.
With Rohit himself coming at no 3, middle order was ensured of a definite good start as even their skipper was in good touch, he scored 482 runs in 16 matches.Rohit changed his batting style according to the situation, he played carefully when the top order collapsed cheaply (which rarely happened) and supported the middle order to move the scoreboard forward.
Maybe MI’s middle order was the strongest of the tournament. Both Ambati Rayadu and Kieron Pollard were in form and smashed whenever it was needed. Pollard smashed 419 runs including 2nd highest sixes number of 28. Rayadu played responsibly with keeping the wicket at the other end.
Two uncapped talents came up as Hardik Pandya and Jagadeesha Suchith, both all-rounders, supported Mumbai with their inventive batting and bowling. Pandya even won two Man-of-the-Match awards, first against Chennai for his 3 catches and quick fire 21 runs with 3 sixes that snatched the game for Mumbai in the end. Second came in a do-or-die match where smashed 61 off just 31 balls to set a respectable target against Kolkata.
In the end, experience of Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga with an aggressive new comer Mitchell McClenaghan grilled the opponent batsmen. McClenaghan surely added the bowling line up with the fire that was needed. They all picked up 62 wickets combined in 15 matches. Malinga was the 2nd highest wicket-taker with his 24 in 15 matches.
Firstly Mumbai Indians have to stop having nerve-wrecking second halves and start the tournament with enough wins. Though we do enjoy such amazing turnarounds but these things cannot happen in every season. You have to try and get the momentum in your side early in the season as well.
All the negatives graphs of MI were found in the initial part of the season where they lost consecutive matches.
Starting from Pawan Suyal, who played in the first three matches, failed to impress everyone. He went wicketless with a high economy almost touching 10 an over. Jasprit Bumrah and his unorthodox-action was hammered by all the opponents batsmen. Bumrah gave away runs at a very high, 12 per over run-rate.
In the batting department, Unmukt Chand disappointed with his inconsistent form. He played in overall 6 games but failed to achieve anything beside bits and pieces. He made 102 runs in 6 matches. It's high time for him to step-up now. His place might be danger if he contineus to stay stagnant with his form.
Karnataka pacer Vinay Kumar had a prolific season before the start of IPL at the Ranji grounds. He was one of the leading wicket-take in the domestic league.
But in IPL, it never reflected that he was in such form. Kumar picked only 7 wickets in 13 matches, he played almost every match of Mumbai but the big reason behind that selection was that no other good Indian bowlers were available at MI's bench.
What to expect in 2016?
Firstly, a new-comer named Alex Hales, who is hail-storming in England's domestic ground. He did join the team eventually as a replacement for Corey Anderson but couldn't get a place in playing XI as MI's were all set to go in final with a momentum.
MI have definitely changed themselves in the last few games. They all stuck together which resulted in the overall turnaround. Now, as a two-times champions, they are expected to come on the field as more responsible side.
They definitely don't want the same start like this season and will be hoping to roll out their uncapped tigers in next year. Hardik Pandya and Jagadeesha Suchith will be looked upon as a good and matured boys who won't throw their wicket or lose the rhythm and just give away runs when the team wants something. They both are powerful and should be nurtured in a proper manner.
Last but not the least, the new Kiwi, Mitchell McClenaghan will be waiting to come again with full fiery on the face of opponents. He was and he's till date, MI's best replacement brought in. His aggressive bowling outshined may batsman this season.