Mumbai Indians have won the coveted Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy on five occasions so far. The Rohit Sharma-led side has won the cash-rich league in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020 respectively. With a settled core unit and significant balance across departments, MI are a side above the rest in the tournament. Their taste for success and the ease with which they dictate games in the decisive stages, make this unit a favourable team to watch out for. MI will be hoping to script history by becoming the first side to win three straight IPL titles and six in total. They have all the resources to achieve plenty of success. Ahead of an expected mega IPL auction next season, this would be a fitting achievement for the current crop of players to win the tournament once again. MI are set to open their IPL 2021 campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 9 in Chennai. Here we look at the pivotal reasons as to why MI can win a sixth IPL crown and open a formidable gap over the other seven franchises.
MI have one of the best bowling units
What makes MI so deadly in the IPL is their well-settled bowling unit. MI have made it a habit of producing a famed pace-bowling group over the years. Despite releasing certain key foreign pacers this time, they filled the gap by buying productive performers. MI will ride on Trent Boult’s brilliance at the top. The Kiwi pacer claimed 25 wickets in the IPL 2020 season to be MI’s second-highest wicket-taker. His contribution in the powerplay overs was unmatched. As per Cricketpedia, Boult took 16 wickets in the powerplay overs at an average of 15.13. MI have also got the ever-reliable Jasprit Bumrah. The right-arm Indian pacer took 27 scalps last season. A consistent performer, Bumrah took 14 wickets in the death overs last season. MI have two leading pacers to handle the two crucial phases of a match. MI can rely on experience in the form of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Milne. In the spin department, Rahul Chahar has proved his mettle. The addition of veteran ace spinner Piyush Chawla has bolstered their ranks.
A versatile batting department
The presence of Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock upfront is a dream combination that has worked so well for MI over the last two seasons. De Kock has led the charge, scoring 529 and 503 runs respectively. His consistency has been a key attribute. The contributions from Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan cannot be ignored. Surya has become a fine T20 player since moving to MI. He has been a consistent force over the last few seasons. A floater like Ishan Kishan, who can bat at several positions is a plus for MI. The aggressive southpaw had a strike rate of 145.76 in IPL 2020. He was also MI’s top scorer. Also, the inputs from the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard in the finishing department makes MI the side with the best-balanced outfit with the bat. Pollard has a strike rate of over 170 in the death overs as Hardik Pandya has clocked close to the 180 strike rate. This has helped MI do so well in the final overs with so much power on offer.
MI’s core group has done well
The influence of Hardik and Krunal Pandya as all-rounders, backed by the experience of Pollard make MI a destructive force. Hardik has a strike rate of 159.26 in the IPL. The last two seasons have seen him come out with flying colours. His elder brother Krunal has chipped in well and brings the desired experience. These players have been amongst the core group of players, contributing immensely with bat and ball. Bumrah, who has taken 109 wickets, has been a leading customer for MI with the ball. Rohit may have scored in excess of 500 runs just once in the last eight seasons, but what he brings is immense value and an optimum level of consistency. With De Kock, Surya and Kishan in support, MI’s core group has gone from strength to strength. With a settled side, Rohit Sharma cannot ask for more. Also, the presence of Mahela Jayawardene as a coach has helped MI be more pragmatic and composed.
Rohit’s leadership and the taste of success
Rohit Sharma’s leadership has given MI the impetus to be consistent over the years. He has led by example, bringing the best out from his players and helping them to be expressive. His captaincy record is notable and that brings utmost value to the side. Under Rohit, MI look so well settled and comfortable. The freedom and hunger to perform on a serial basis have contributed to the desired level of success. This brings us to our most important point – the taste of success. MI have won five titles since 2013 and this highlights the mindset of the camp. They are a positive bunch of players who know what’s expected from them. Sharing responsibility, knowing what to offer and the ability to be aggressive are prime examples of MI’s memorable journey. When a side consistently wins trophies and bosses the competition, then winning becomes a habit. MI are always so calm under pressure situations. They often deliver the goods in the most crucial stages of the league.