IPL 2018: SWOT analysis of the Mumbai Indians
Having won three titles, the defending Champions Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in the IPL. MI always were a team to watch out but ever since Rohit Sharma became the Captain of the side in 2013, he took the state of affairs to another level. Under his leadership, MI have clinched the IPL trophy thrice within a span of five years.
The franchise has built its core around the Pandya brothers, Jasprit Bumrah and of course Captain Rohit Sharma. It is a balanced unit and would lock horns against the MS Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of IPL 2018.
MI have most bases covered but even the most carefully picked teams have some or the other deficiency which can then be exploited by the opposition teams. Let us have a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Mumbai Indians in this year’s IPL.
Mumbai possess tremendous firepower both in their batting and bowling lineup. They have pacers like Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins, Mustafizur Rahman and Jason Behrendorff who are not only quick and accurate but also are very miserly with the runs. Bumrah and Mustafizur would probably make the best death bowling combination in the world right now. Aussie quicks Cummins and Behrendoff have both pace and control and are capable of dishing out some classic spells.
MI have roped in West Indian batsman Evin Lewis who would open the batting for the side in all probability this year. Lewis is arguably the most explosive batsman to come out of the Caribbean after Chris Gayle and is rated very highly. The Trinidadian is also one of the few batsmen to have two T20I centuries against his name.
With both Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma gone to the Chennai Super kings this year, the franchise is a little short on Indian spin bowling ammunition. The three spinners that they have are Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar and Anukul Roy. Krunal is a useful left arm spin bolwing all-rounder but does not guarantee to bowl his full quota of overs and may go for plenty. Chahar and Roy are talented spinners but they are wet behind their years and may crumble under pressure.
Although Kieron Pollard is one of the most trusted members of the team and an integral part of the MI family, there has been a visible decline in his efficiency in the recent times. Pollard is no more the all-rounder he once used to be and has lost his bowling mojo. He may also have some fitness issues as he has gained a lot of weight and can create a dilemma for MI as the tournament progresses.
Though Rohit Sharma showed glimpses of coming back to form in the latter part of the Nidahas Trophy but he is yet to regain his typical silken touch. Sharma has a grat IPL record both as Captain and as a batsman. In 2017, the 30-year-old demoted himself in the batting order after he returned from injury. However, he would again feature at the top of the order for MI this year and is expected to win some matches single-handedly for his side.
Akila Dhananjaya is one of the few Sri Lankan players who are part of the IPL action and has impressed one and all with his wily variations. The fact that Dhananjaya can also bowl in the Poweplay overs makes him a real asset for the Captain. The Sri Lankan can pretty much handle himself with the bat as well and would have an opportunity to make a name for himself in the IPL.
MI have built an awe inspiring first XI but can be found wanting as far as the bench strength is concerned. Some of the Indian backup options for Mumbai include Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba and Mohsin Khan, who fall well short to make up for the pedigree of the front liners.
The franchise is also heavily dependent on Jasprit Bumrah to deliver more often than not. Bumrah has been playing a lot of international cricket of late. After being included in the Indian Test side, his workload has increased manifold and God forbid, a niggle may well be round the corner. In such a case, MI do not have an apt backup for the Gujarat pacer. Next in line is Pradeep Sangwan but the team would not want to entertain this proposition.
© Cricket World 2018