The defending champions of Indian Premier League will start their 2020 campaign with a buoyed up squad as they have managed to retain a bulk of their previous year’s strength and will be motivated by the inclusion of Sherfane Rutherford and Chris Lynn to their already menacing squad members.
They will also look forward to the services of their gilt-edged players who proved to be too hot to handle for the other teams in the preceding edition of the IPL. The part that makes them stand out is their Indian base, which comprises a scintillating blend of youth and experience as the exciting crop of new players provide that storm to dismantle their counterparts while reliable and experienced campaigners provide the stability and expertise.
We will look at the set of Mumbai Indians probables most likely to start the game for them in the first few matches.
Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton De Kock (wk)
Promoted to the opening slot after boarding the flight to Mumbai, Suryakumar Yadav has done a commendable job. Even in the last season, he garnered 424 runs from 16 games at a decent average of 32.61, hammering at a strike rate of 130 plus. This gives him the license to opt for his favourite aerial route in the powerplay with the fielders restricted inside the circle.
Partnering with him will be South Africa’s premium opener and wicket-keeper, Quinton De Kock. Arguably one of the finest Proteas cricketers at the moment, De Kock is a big hitter of the ball, which he very successfully balances with a few classic drives and pulls. A fine player of fast-bowling, his expertise in weathering the new ball storm, especially under the UAE circumstances will be extremely handy for the Mumbai Indians.
Rohit Sharma ( c )
Sharma has established himself as one of the best batsmen in the world through years of resurgence and introducing a paradigm shift in his batting approach as he is a far more active player that he used to be before 2013. Housed with the ability to consign the balls out of the park effortlessly, Sharma will be an extremely crucial name to the aspirations of Mumbai lifting the trophy again. He is also an effective fielder, showcasing enviable agility and precision on the field. He is also the captain of the Mumbai Indians squad and his leadership flair has hogged considerable limelight, may it be for India or for Mumbai Indians.
Though this youngster hasn’t been firing lately as his form in domestic cricket has nosedived into a receding tailspin, his statistics are too enviable for an IPL player who is all set to open his account for Mumbai Indians. With 1691 first-class runs and 1045 List A runs, he is an exciting prospect in the Mumbai squad.
Boasting about 7 domestic centuries until now, his batting skills will be put to the test under the heat of veterans of the game. One of the most significant abilities housed by this youngster is his ability to play a successful anchor to the innings. In case if there is an early landslide, he will be a big name to hold up the innings unless someone decides to free their arms.
The West Indian hard-hitter who can flip any game in the wink of an eye, Pollard is also another emphatic moniker to propel Mumbai higher in the tournament. An all-rounder with scintillating capabilities to dispatch the ball out of the park or to pull off rippers from the sky with his grand agility and most importantly to bowl those frugal spells in the middle of the innings, chipping in with a wicket or two, Pollard is the most complete cricketer in the Mumbai ranks.
India’s finest all-rounder at the moment who is being touted as the most potent successor to Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya is Mumbai’s game-changer. Known for his drastic hitting flair laced with crucial bowling spells that break important partnerships, he will be absolutely cardinal to Rohit Sharma’s plans of dislodging an opponent. Coming late in the order gives him a better view of the situation which makes it easier for him to premeditate his approach towards the game.
Though he is touted as a bowling all-rounder, his batting dexterity has always been questioned. He is more of a big-hitter who can help in firing Mumbai’s run-rate higher towards the end of the innings, his stand as a batsman hasn’t really been scintillating.
However, his bowling has bedevilled his opponents quite significantly, as he managed to wring out 12 wickets at a cheap economy rate of 7.28 which is quite a thorn in a batsman’s flesh. His best figures of 3/34 in the preceding edition of the tournament played a burning testimony to his wicket-taking capability.
Playing as the first spinner of the squad, Chahar was a vital cog in Mumbai’s challenge to the title as he managed to scalp 13 wickets at an astonishing strike rate of 6.55. With best figures of 3 for 19, his leg-breaks have brewed considerable trouble for the batsmen in the precursor edition of the tournament.
Though he has very reticently trudged into the twilight of his career, Malinga still continues to be the best bowler for Mumbai Indians. A man who is capable of bowling consecutive yorkers in the death overs that also exhibits significant movement, Malinga is also capable of hitting a few big hits towards the end of the innings to make it entertaining for the fans if the need arises.
With 16 wickets from 12 games in the last edition of IPL, he raised the hopes of his teammates beyond the sky, taking off a massive amount of pressure from their shoulders.
Despite not being tested to his fullest potential in the last edition of the fray, he is Mumbai’s dark horse. Capable of hitting the deck hard consistently at 140 plus kays, McClenaghan can disrupt the cream of anyone’s batting with brute pace. His knack for taking wickets at regular intervals also makes him a feared contender in the likes of Mumbai Indians.
Needless to say, he is currently Mumbai’s bowling spearhead, Bumrah is one of the best bowlers in international cricket at the moment. Scalping 19 wickets from 16 games, at an economy rate of 6.63, he is simply unplayable towards the end of the innings when you need to score at a soaring rate to challenge your opponents.
He is also a pivotal player to disrupt the flow of runs which comes in extremely handy in case of defending a low total.
These will be the probable eleven to start Mumbai’s campaign, however, eyes will also be there on experienced campaigners like Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford and Ishan Kishan. Coulter-Nile has already established himself as one of the deadliest bowlers in the world while Rutherford and Ishan-Kishan can fire the middle order to significant heights as they are capable of smashing the cherry into any cranny of the park.