Mumbai Indians : Team Analysis and Probable XI IPL 2020
The defending champions Mumbai Indians will start the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) as one of the favorites. One of the most successful sides in the history of IPL, Mumbai will have new challenges awaiting in UAE in their course of defending the title.
The initial five matches of 2014 edition of the tournament was held in UAE. Mumbai would definitely want to forget that phase as the team was unable to register a single win from those matches.
Points Table from the UAE Leg in 2014 IPL
Four times champion Mumbai Indians would look to leave these stats behind and focus on their present campaign. Historically, Mumbai have always been shaky starters. In 2014 season, the team qualified for the playoffs even after losing first 5 matches in the UAE Leg whereas in 2015 they went on to lift the title after losing their first 4 matches.
Chris Lynn was the first buy of IPL 2020 Auction after being released by Kolkata Knight Riders. But Lynn's form lately would be a concern for Mumbai. He was not at his best in the recently concluded Carribean Premier League (CPL). While some cricket experts believe Lynn would not get a chance in MI's playing 11, I would like to see him open the innings with Quinton de Kock for at least a couple of matches. Its just a matter of time that the Australian opener gets some momentum going and starts hitting as he is known for.
Its all about Mahela Jayawardene and Rohit Sharma's strategies, but looking at the possible comibinations, we might see the skipper Rohit batting at 3. In case Lynn doesn't get going, Mumbai could bench him and open with Rohit with Ishan Kishan in the middle order. Rohit has always been floating himself between middle order and opening position depending on the team's combinations.
The top order looks solid for the side and one of the strong one among all teams in the tournament. Suryakumar Yadav is a dependable option in the middle order and has done decent job in previous season. Ishan Kishan might have to miss out in the initial phase but will definitely get chances as the tournament progresses.
Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Sherfane Rutherford, Jayant Yadav, Anukul Roy, Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh
The Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard have been a pillar of this side since some significant time. Hardik and Pollard have been brilliant finishers for Mumbai and the side will have huge expectations from them this time around too. Pollard is coming back after leading his side Trinbago Knight Riders to the CPL T20 title winning all the matches throughout the tournament. Pollard was also named Player of the Series in the tournament.
Krunal Pandya with his left-arm orthodox might prove to be pretty effective in the UAE pitches. These allrounders are equally capable to contribute in all 3 departments of the game: batting, bowling and fielding.
The squad has options in the name of Sherfane Rutherford and Nathan Coulter Nile too. Mumbai doesn't seem to prefer Coulter Nile who hasn't played a single match in last 2 seasons of IPL.
The unavailability of veteran Lasith Malinga can prove out to be big loss for the Mumbai side. In the absence of Malinga, more responsibility is added to the shoulders of Jasprit Bumrah. There is no doubt that Trent Boult is a quality bowler but he played only 5 games in last season and hasn't yet tasted a lot of success as far as his IPL career is concerned. There is another quality option in the name of Mitchell McCleneghan who might get included for his experience of playing in UAE.
I am expecting leg spinner Rahul Chahar and right-arm off break Jayant Yadav to get chances based on the playing conditions in UAE which favors spinners.
Probable Playing XI
Chris Lynn / Ishan Kishan
Quinton De kock
Rahul Chahar / Jayant Yadav
Dhawal Kulkarni / Nathan Coulter nile
Trent Boult / Mitchell Mcclenegan
Player to Watch Out : Quinton De Kock and Rahul Chahar
The Mumbai side might be worried that they don't have enough depth in their spin department. Yes, Rahul Chahar is a guy to watch out for, but absence of an experienced spin bowler might be a slight concern for the management. Since just 3 venues will be used, the pitches will assist the slower bowlers more as the tournament progresses.
Regarding my views, someone like Quinton De Kock with his style of play and class, would be amongst the runs. The ground sizes are expected to be big and guys like Pandya and Pollard who are used to hitting big in flat Wankhede track, might find it difficult to get going straight away. I guess MI will start shaky this time too but they have that balance and capable players to qualify for the playoffs.
The team selection and analysis done is purely personal opinion of the writer.