If one has to name the most prominent and consistent team in Indian Premier League, none other option would be better than Mumbai Indians. Since the inception of IPL in 2008, MI has been the focal point of the tournament.
The team had made it to the headlines even before playing any match, the reason was it’s cricketing legacy, graced by legends from various countries. Veteran players like Sanath Jayasuriya, Ricky Ponting, Shaun Pollock and Sachin Tendulkar have all been an integral part of the MI family.
The homeground of the team, Wankhede Stadium, is one of the most renowned stadiums of India and further adds gem to it’s aura. MI has won the IPL in 2013, 2015 and 2017 and also the Champions League T20 in 2011 and 2013.
The Mumbai based franchise is owned by India's biggest conglomerate, Reliance Industries. It was the most expensive team of the tournament in the opening season of IPL and is believed to have brand value of$44.62 million.
The team has always been a perfect balance of young talents and experience. Players like Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit Sharma, Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson have always been there to galvanise the youngsters like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Jos Buttler.
Mumbai Indians took the IPL by storm by some very strong performances. While playing the IPL 2017, they won their 100th T20, becoming the first team to do so.
MI has played the highest number of matches and it’s 58.28% is the highest winning percentage among all the eight teams. It holds the record of restricting the opponents to the lowest total in the history of IPL and also has a record of largest victory by runs.
If one goes for the individual performances, MI players are found to be on roll everywhere. The current skipper, Rohit Sharma is ranked third in terms of highest runs, most sixes and most catches as a fielder in the ten seasons of IPL. His 4207 runs are only behind Raina’s 4540 and Kohli’s 4418.
In the bowling arena, MI pacers and spinners have supreme dominance. Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh hold the number one and three spot respectively in the list of top wicket takers in the IPL history.
After two mediocre seasons, the team proved its mettle in the third season, when the team witnessed its entry in the play-offs for the first time, and eventually in finals. However, they lost to Chennai Super Kings by 22 runs.
In 2011 and 2012, the team finished second and third respectively in the league tables but failed to make it to the finals.
The team’s quest for their maiden trophy came to an end in 2013. Kieron Pollard’s 60 runs in the finals was truly a class as the team defeated the mighty CSK by 23 runs to earn the title.
Mumbai Indians’ performance kept on sharpening under the capable leadership of Rohit Sharma in further seasons of the tournament. Young national talents like Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya helped Rohit in his new venture as a captain, and they won the title again in 2015. MI made a thumping total of 202 in the finals of 2015 by the help of 68 runs knock from Lendl Simmons and they yet again defeated CSK.
In a rather low scoring finals of 2017 IPL, MI defeated Rising Pune Supergiants by 1 run to lift the trophy for the third time.
Controversies and Low points
In the inaugural season of IPL in 2008, the then temporary captain of Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan Singh was banned for the tournament for slapping S.Sreesanth, who was at that time playing for the Kings XI Punjab team after a match.
In IPL 2014, Mumbai Indians aggressive batsman Kieron Pollard was fined for his heated altercation with Mitchell Starc during the match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium.
In the first two seasons of the IPL, the team relied heavily on the batting of JP Duminy and Tendulkar and Malinga's bowling, leading to a poor performance in both the seasons. The team finished on fifth and seventh spot in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Since 2010, the team has made it to the playoffs almost every time but could convert it to the supreme title only thrice.
The motto of the team, "Duniya Hila Denge Hum...", is truly an apt one. They amazed their fans in each and every edition by their brilliant performances. Rohit hitting out of the ground and Malinga’s bowling cruising through stumps was always a treat to the eyes.
The theme song of the Mumbai Indians is the famous "Ala Re". However, after every boundary or a wicket, a fan-made song titled "Akkha Mumbai Khelega" is played by the stadium disc jockey.
The Mumbai Indians are part of an initiative called 'Play for education', and the franchise hosted around twenty thousand kids from NGOs in the latest 2017 season, all of whom supported the 'Blue Brigade' as they took on the resurgent Gujarat Lions at home.