After winning the tournament in 2017, Mumbai Indians had a lacklustre season in 2018 and couldn't make it to the playoffs. The Rohit Sharma-led side lost 8 out of 14 matches in IPL 2018.
IPL 2019 is just around the corner. The world’s biggest T20 league kicks off on 23rd March and a number of first-timers will look to make their mark at this grand stage.
After winning the tournament in 2017, Mumbai Indians had a lacklustre season in 2018 and couldn’t make it to the playoffs. The Rohit Sharma-led side lost 8 out of 14 matches in IPL 2018.
The franchise, which had gone all out to buy youngsters during the 2018 auction, went for experience this time around. They bought old warhorses Yuvraj Singh and Lasith Malinga at their base price. They also added left-arm pacer Barinder Sran and the hard-hitting batsman from Punjab Anmolpreet Singh.
Mumbai Indians will start their IPL 2019 campaign against Delhi Capitals on March 24.
Here are 4 MI players to watch out for this time around:
Quinton de Kock
Mumbai Indians boasts of a strong batting lineup : Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Evin Lewis and Hardik Pandya are each capable of changing the face of the game in a matter of a few overs. But, MI still decided to bolster their batting and got Quinton de Kock from Royal Challengers Bangalore during the trade window for IPL 2019.
The 26-year-old South African is expected to feature in the playing XI as Mumbai Indians look to leave last season’s defeats behind them. He will have stiff competition from Keiron Pollar, Evin Lewis, Ben Cutting, Lasith Malinga and Mitch McCleneghan for making the cut as a overseas player in the starting XI.
De Kock has scored 927 runs at the IPL so far at an average of 28 and a strike rate of 130.
Netflix recently released a documentary called ‘Cricket Fever’ chronicling Mumbai Indians journey in the 2018 edition of the IPL. One of the players who got prominent screentime in it, was the 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan.
Ishan Kishan was picked up by Mumbai Indians at last year’s auction for Rs 6.2 crore. The left-hander failed to justify the high price tag last season scoring 275 runs in 14 innings at a strike rate of 150. But the youngster did display sparks of brilliance and has the ability to hit the ball out of the park.
One innings of his that stood out was when Kishan scored 62 off just 21 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders. He hit four consecutive sixes against Kuldeep Yadav in that match.
If he makes a mark at IPL 2019, Kishan could also be in the reckoning for the wicketkeeper’s position in the national side.
Not long ago, Lasith Malinga was considered the best death overs bowlers in the ODIs and T20s. That was before injuries and age took their toll, forcing Malinga to leave competetive cricket for a year in 2016. He made his return last year and has started delivering those toe-crushing yorkers again.
Jasprit Bumrah is the leader of the Mumbai Indians bowling pack. And Bumrah and Malinga together would make a lethal force.
Batsmen are scared of facing Malinga in any tournament. But he has a special love for the IPL. He still holds the record of being the highest wicket taker in IPL history, with a haul of 154 wickets.
For Malinga, the prospect of representing his country at the World Cup also look bright. And he would want to make his case stronger by picking up wickets at IPL 2019.
Mayank Markande came into the spotlight on his debut in IPL 2018 when he trapped MS Dhoni LBW for a duck. He went on to pick 15 wickets and became MI’s leading wicket-taker last season.
Since then, the 21-year-old has progressed in leaps and bounds and recently returned figures of 5/31 to help India A beat England Lions. He was then drafted into the India side for the T20s against Australia. He played 1 match and failed to pick a wicket in his quota of 4 overs.
Mayank Markande will be the lead spinner for MI at IPL 2019, and the young leg-break bowler will have to ensure that he foxes opposition batsmen on a regular basis for his team to have a chance at lifting the trophy.