IPL 2018: The defending champions, Mumbai Indians have got off to a disastrous start in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League. Led by Rohit Sharma, Mumbai lost their first two matches. The top-order has emerged as a big concern for captain Rohit Sharma as Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan have failed to put up big scores. Hardik Pandya’s injury added to his woes as MI lost their first two matches in the last over. Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League is what Real Madrid is to La Liga. Owned by Nita Ambani, the Blue Army has always gone after the best players, often putting together the most star-studded line-ups in the IPL. However, when the management would look back at IPL auction 2018, they would feel that they might have missed a trick! Mumbai Indians may not the best team on paper this year but it surely isn’t a one you can take lightly. The management did well to keep their core intact. MI’s biggest strength will be their skipper – Rohit Sharma who was retained along with Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya.
Apart from this, Mumbai Indians also bought two of their stars – Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard through RTM. The franchise also made a smart choice by buying young Ishan Kishan as their wicketkeeper-batsman, an area where they have struggled over the years, trying different names like Ambati Rayudu, Parthiv Patel, Jos Buttler and Aditya Tare. Kishan will most likely open the batting alongside destructive West Indian
Evin Lewis. This gives Mumbai Indians 7 guaranteed starters in the playing XI, leaving only 4 spots to be filled.
Plenty of all-round options:
Not too long ago, T20 was considered to be the game of all-rounders and even the bits and pieces were able to make a name for themselves. Even though the perception has changed in last few years, the all-rounders still remain important and MI have plenty of them in their squad. The Pandya brothers were sensational for the franchise last season and will take the number 6 and 7 slot in the batting order.
Pollard isn’t the same bowler as he was when he had emerged at the international level. He may play as a pure batsman, batting at number 4 or 5. What MI may miss in Pollard, they have tried to cover with Ben Cutting whose three sixes in the final over won IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016. With Pollard, Pandyas and Cutting taking up 5,6,7 and 8 slots in the batting order, Mumbai looks a far balanced side than any other team in the tournament.
Not to forget they also have the luxury of playing a JP Duminy who apart from being a match-winner with the bat, is also a more than handy off-spinner.
Lack of quality spinners:
Spinners have had a magical impact on T20s and Mumbai Indians’ failure to buy quality spinners in IPL auction, can cost them big in the later stages of the tournament. Krunal Pandya will be MI’s primary spinner this season and the gravity of the situation can be understood by the fact that Pandya hardly spins the ball! Then, there is a young Rahul Chahar who was bought for Rs 2 crore but can he win the same number of matches for you as a Yuzvendra Chahal or Sunil Narine, is something to be seen.
The franchise also bought Sri Lanka’s Akila Dhananjaya but playing him would mean dropping either JP Duminy or a fast-bowler from the playing XI, which is unlikely to happen. There is also a young Anukul Roy in the team who was impressive in this year’s Under19 World Cup and might be used at some stage by the team.
Key Players – Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Ben Cutting.
Mumbai Indians schedule and list of matches with venues:
Match 1 Saturday 7th April 2018
08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings
Match 9 Saturday 14th April 2018
04:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils
Match 14 Tuesday 17th April 2018
08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Match 21 Sunday 22nd April 2018
08:00 PM – Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur – Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians
Match 23 Tuesday 24th April 2018
08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad
Match 27 Saturday 28th April 2018
08:00 PM – MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai – Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians
Match 31 Tuesday 1st May 2018
08:00 PM – M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru – Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians
Match 34 Friday 4th May 2018
08:00 PM – Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali – Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians
Match 37 Sunday 6th May 2018
04:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders
Match 41 Wednesday 9th May 2018
08:00 PM – Eden Gardens, Kolkata – Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians
Match 47 Sunday 13th May 2018
08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals
Match 50 Wednesday 16th May 2018
08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab
Match 55 Sunday 20th May 2018
04:00 PM – Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi – Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians squad – Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan.