Mumbai Indians eye third title on the trot

Five-time champions, led by Rohit, enter IPL as strong favourites

By   |  Published: 8th Apr 2021  12:01 amUpdated: 8th Apr 2021  11:35 am

Hyderabad: Defending champions Mumbai Indians are the team to watch out for once again this year. Having defended the title for the first time in the previous season in UAE, the Rohit Sharma-led side became the most successful team in the history of Indian Premier League with five titles.

Going against their trend of winning the title every odd year, Mumbai lifted the title in 2020 and eye a hat-trick of titles this edition. Without a title till 2012, the Mumbai team turned into the most consistent team under Rohit winning five titles in the next eight years.

This year too, the team is equipped with all the ammunition to go the distance. The team is packed with match-winners throughout and captain Rohit, who knows how to get the best out of each player, comes with a reputation of the most-destructive cricketer in white ball format. In the batting department, South African Quinton de Kock, who will miss the opening match against RCB due to mandatory seven-day quarantine on his return from Pakistan, forms a formidable combination with Rohit. They also have another attacking opener in Chris Lynn but he may have to warm the benches again.

Suryakumar Yadav has cemented his place at No.4 for the Mumbai franchise. After putting in consistent performances, he made his debut for India in a grand style hitting half-century against England in T20s. Ishan Kishan also made a grand debut in international cricket with a fifty in the same series. All-rounder Krunal Pandya, who made his debut for India in ODIs against England, smashed the fastest half-century (17 balls) by a debutant. With these three players brimming with confidence, the presence of Rohit, all-rounders Kieron Pollard, power-hitter Hardik Pandya, only makes the MI batting more lethal.

Mumbai also have an enviable bowling unit studded with international stars. With the IPL’s highest wicket-taker Lasith Malinga calling it quits, Indian star Jasprit Bumrah is set to lead the attack. He has New Zealand pacer Trent Boult, who is a skiddy customer with the new ball, at the other end. In Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell McClenaghan, the options are plenty for the skipper. Leggie Rahul Chahar has the edge over Piyush Chawla and Jayant Yadav and with Krunal in the line-up, they have good variety in the spin department too.

Known as perennial slow starters, Mumbai are a tough opposition to stop once they hit the full throttle. They always peak at the right time in the league. With Mumbai looking strong in every department, they are primed to win the title  yet again.

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