IPL 2018 mid-season analysis - Mumbai Indians, the iconic slow starters of the IPL

Mumbai Indians, the iconic slow starters of the IPL
 

With three titles in their kitty, Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL team of all time. The defending champions stepped into this year’s IPL with high hopes. They started strong with a string of close and hard fought games.

However, to their utter misfortune, more often than not, Mumbai ended up on the losing side. And it was not as if MI were playing bad cricket. They were not just able to clinch the crucial moments. This was reflected in their string of losses that came in the last over.

Gradually, the baggage of several last-over unfortunate encounters became too much for the team to handle. They began faltering; getting bundled up for extremely low totals in consecutive matches. In a way, they were living up to their tag of slow starters.

However, as April gave way to May, the fortunes of MI also took a turn. Lady luck smiled on them and coupled with some consistent performances, they were able to win each of their last three games, that too by a good margin.

They have now stormed their way to the Top 4 in the points table. Although, the side has momentum on their side, they would have to win all their remaining 3 games to stand a chance to qualify for the playoffs. Here is an in-depth analysis of Mumbai Indians, the iconic slow starters of the IPL:

Captaincy

Rohit Sharma is a very calm and collected customer. He is self admittedly very similar to MS Dhoni in terms of staying calm and letting his actions speak louder than his words. Under his leadership, they have clinched three IPL titles in a span of 5 years which includes the championship last year.

This season has been a mixed bag for Rohit Sharma as a Captain. While he is to be credited along with the team management for entrusting faith in a young leg spinner like Mayank Markande who has been a revelation for Mumbai this year, some of his decisions have to be questioned as well.

Rohit has stuck with Hardik Pandya in the death overs. Although Pandya has picked up wickets, he has gone for plenty in the death overs. This has made the difference of 15-20 extra runs which has ultimately led to Mumbai’s downfall.

Rohit’s another questionable move is his tenacity to include Kieron Pollard in the playing XI. Pollard has stopped bowling now and was in the time as a pure batsman. In the many chances that he was given, Pollard failed to leave a mark. Many believed that he ended up getting a longer rope than he should have.

Batting

Mumbai Indians have a gun batting line up which is packed with power hitters. Surya Kumar Yadav, who has been promoted in the batting order at the top in place of Rohit Sharma, has had a breakout season. With 435 runs in 11 matches at an average of almost 40 and a strike rate over 130, Yadav has got Mumbai off to a good start.

Windies opener Evin Lewis has also had a decent run with 265 runs in the season till now which includes a couple of useful knocks at the top.

Skipper Rohit Sharma began the tournament by slotting himself at the top of the batting order. However, following a couple of failures he dropped himself down and has been shuffling between No 3 and No 4 since then. Notwithstanding a couple of match-winning knocks, Rohit would like to contribute much more with the bat.

Bowling

The injury to Pat Cummins that he sustained on Australia’s tour to South Africa came as huge blow to MI. Cummins had been their star pick in the auctions and was expected to lead MI’s bowling attack along with Jasprit Bumrah.  

Mitchell McClenaghan who was left unsold in the auctions was called as Cummins’s replacement. McClenaghan has neither been too good, nor too bad with the ball. In most matches, he has picked up one or two wickets and bowled with an economy of 8 or thereabout.

Jasprit Bumrah has not quite been able to do something extraordinary in the tournament till now. All the same, he has been good overall with 11 wickets in as many games and an impressive economy of under 7. Bumrah has lost a bit of control on his yorkers and is relying more on the bouncer and the slower ones this season.

Leg spinner Mayank Markande has been Mumbai’s X factor this year. Markande burst on to the scene with a 3-fer in his debut against CSK which included the priced scalp of MS Dhoni. However, his heroics have subsided off late since batsmen have started to pick him better. He still remains at the 4th spot in the list of Purple Cap contenders with 14 wickets against his name.

All-rounders

Mumbai Indians are blessed to have both the Pandya brothers in their side. While both of them are explosive batsmen, the scenario is even better this year as both the Pandya’s are regularly giving their Captain 4 overs as well.

Although Pandya has leaked runs, he has stepped up his bowling big time and currently stands as the joint highest wicket taker of IPL 2018 with Andrew Tye. Hardik Pandya did not have a great start with the bat but he is slowly catching up.

His elder brother Krunal Pandya has also been a handful in the limited opportunities that he has got. Krunal has also finished a couple of games with the bat apart from bowling really tight lines and lengths.

Australian pace bowling all rounder Ben Cutting has not left that much of a mark till now but his exploits against KKR in the last over of Piyush Chawla gave glimpses of the talent that the Aussie possess.

Road ahead

With 5 wins and 6 losses in their 11 matches this year, MI are livng on the edge. One more defeat and it would be curtains for them in IPL 2018. However, their 3 wins in the last three matches have reignited hopes for the franchise.

Even in IPL 2015, MI lost five of their first six matches, including all their first four but still made it to the Playoffs. And once they gained momentum, they just kept winning; ultimately laying their hands on the IPL trophy. So don’t be surprised if history repeats itself. After all, slow and steady wins the race.

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