Will any team be able to stop the Mumbai Indians juggernaut? A hat-trick of IPL trophies is what the mighty Mumbai Indians team is eyeing.
As the teams gear up for another thrilling IPL, Rohit Sharma’s men appear to be a tough team to beat. All the franchises were shrewd enough to build a strong team, at least on paper, for IPL 2021.
Having said that, MI have more than just a strong team on paper. Let’s take a look at the factors that will help the MI ‘Paltan’ win their 6th IPL title.
1. Hardik Pandya’s bowling
The MI all-rounder Hardik Pandya did not bowl in the entire IPL 2020 season as he was recovering from a back injury. Although Pandya’s flair and flamboyance with the bat was a spectacle to admire, it affected the balance of the side. Mumbai Indians had to either play a fast-bowling all-rounder or an extra pacer to fill the bowling void it created.
Pandya has regained the strength, tweaked his action and has started bowling regularly in international cricket. This completely changes the balance of the already strong Mumbai Indians side. It gives room to play an extra batsman in the middle order or firepower opening batsman to give MI quick starts.
Out of the 5 T20I against England recently, Pandya bowled the full quota of 4 overs thrice. It is important to note that the injury and consequent change in bowling action have not impacted Pandya’s pace.
2. Krunal Pandya’s current form
In the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021, all-rounder Krunal Pandya amassed 388 runs in 5 games at an astounding average of 129.33 and a healthy strike rate of 117.93. This included 2 centuries. Showing his all-around capabilities, the Baroda skipper also picked up 5 wickets at an economy rate of 5.31.
These powerful performances paved the way for his selection into the Indian playing XI against England in the ODI series. In his debut ODI match, Krunal weaved magic on the cricket field with a knock of 58 off just 31 deliveries.
The elder Pandya is in the form of his life and international exposure couldn’t have come at a better time – just days before IPL 2021.
The Pandya bros could propel MI to yet another IPL title.
3. A stable and in-form top order
MI’s top-order includes the likes of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav – both of them in tremendous form.
After scoring a plethora of runs in the domestic circuit, the 30-year old top-order batsman, Suryakumar Yadav announced himself into international cricket with a scintillating half-century against England. Hitting a six off his first-ever international ball, Suryakumar is beaming with confidence.
Young wicket-keeper and swashbuckling batsman Ishan Kishan has been hitting sixes and fours with metronomic consistency in domestic and as well as international cricket. His 94-ball 173 for Jharkhand in Vijay Hazare trophy 2021, was a treat to watch for the cricket aficionados.
4. A fixed set of 7 Indians in the XI
Choosing a perfect playing XI that will remain almost the same during the entire course of the tournament is paramount to win the title. Constant chopping and changing leads to confusion, lack of trust and eventually, poor team performance.
A stable team with almost the same 7 Indian players in the playing XI throughout the two months period, has become the linchpin of MI’s success over the years. In this year’s IPL, those 7 players would be – Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar and Jasprit Bumrah.
Even overseas players like Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and Trent Boult will play the majority of games.
5. The 6th bowling option
T20 is a harsh format for the bowlers. Any good bowler, on any given day, can be taken to cleaners on a flat deck. Thus, it becomes crucial to have a legitimate 6th bowler in the team to compensate for the bowler who is facing the heat. Mumbai Indians have as many as 7 all-rounders in the squad which assures them the leverage to have at least one extra bowling option in the playing XI at all times.
These all-rounders include – Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jimmy Neesham, Arjun Tendulkar, Marco Jensen.