IPL 2020: MI Team Preview - Defending champions Mumbai Indians start season with reliable core
With a settled group of players and an astute captain in Rohit Sharma at the fore, Mumbai Indians will stake their claim for another IPL title.
Mumbai Indians have been the most successful franchise with four IPL titles in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 - they seem to like odd numbers. Given that this is 2020, numerology presents a red flag for the side.
On a more serious note, if Mumbai can adjust to the slow conditions of the UAE - frankly, their squad is not the most suited for sluggish surfaces - the team does start as one of the favorites.
Heavyweight openers - Sharma and de Kock
Mumbai have a stellar opening combination in South African skipper Quinton de Kock and Indian white-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma. That is if Sharma sticks to the top of the order, as he should, rather than wasting himself in the middle order.
The Mumbai Indians skipper believes that he can finish the game well, and rightly so, but he has the best utility at the top, where he can take a few balls to get set, as is his style and then get going. Rohit has been brilliant as a leader but has not performed to the best of his ability as a batsman of late. The last time he averaged over 30 (44.45) was in IPL 2016 and if Rohit, the batsman, can fire too, it would be almost impossible to stop Mumbai.
Quinton de Kock since being appointed as South Africa's white-ball captain has been in red-hot form and the two form a lethal opening pair. They will be followed by Indian batting talents Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. While Kishan is more of an aggressor, Yadav can play both roles.
Unparalleled all-rounders - Polly and Pandya brothers
It is their all-rounders who make Mumbai Indians so formidable. The trio of Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya not only provide power to the MI batting line-up but also give them immense balance, which most teams can only dream of.
Hardik Pandya generally bats at 5 or 6 but the team can use him as a floater to make the best use of his hitting ability. There is also a lot of debate surrounding Kieron Pollard's batting order, but perhaps, he is best suited in the finisher's role, where all he has to do is to hit big.
Well rounded bowling - Bumrah and Boult
Mumbai can go in for Rahul Chahar as their second spinner who will complement Kunal Pandya. Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah are their leading pace bowlers, with both capable of bowling equally well in the powerplay and at the death.
In the absence of Lasith Malinga, who has pulled out of of the season due to personal reasons, James Pattinson is likely to get a few games. Sherfane Rutherford and Mitchell McClenaghan are the other options with the team but Pattinson, with his the ability to touch 150 kph, is likely to be preferred.
Probable Starting XI
Mumbai Indians (MI) - Quinton de Kock(wk), Rohit Sharma(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, James Pattinson, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.
Mumbai Indians (MI) - Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, James Pattinson, MItchell McClenaghan, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Rohit Sharma, Sherfane Rutherford, SuryaKumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Digvijay Deshmukh, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Mohsin Khan
© Cricket World 2020