The most successful dynasty of the IPL has fallen in the most shocking fashion. 8 losses in 8 matches is the worst start to any team’s IPL campaign ever, and that this has happened to five-time champions Mumbai Indians is just astonishing.
Hailed as one of two best captains in the IPL, Rohit Sharma, the man known for his calmness on the field, lost his cool a couple of times in the post-match interview that is taken minutes after the team loses. Mahela Jayawardene, Zaheer Khan, Sachin Tendulkar – the words of encouragement of these legendary and have-seen-it all players haven’t been able to make a difference to MI’s points tally.
The team hailed to do their homework better than most, the franchise known for its meticulous planning has gone wrong in most of the ways they thought they should have gone right.
First of all, this team or this squad was never assembled to win the title this year – but it’s still astounding that they are not even getting a win yet. Knowing that there is unlikely to be another mega-auction for, say, five years, Mumbai Indians have willingly sacrificed the chances of their sixth title this year for a dominating future in the coming years.
27-year-old Jofra Archer wasn’t coming this year, everyone knew it. Yet Mumbai Indians splashed 8 crore to secure the all-rounder’s services who was the MVP in the 2020 IPL despite Rajasthan Royals not even qualifying for the playoffs.
Their recent eleven includes 18-year-old Dewald Brevis, 21-year-old Hrithik Shokeen, 23-year-old Ishan Kishan -on whom the 15.25 crore is totally justified given his talent and potential – and 19-year-old Tilak Varma. These are almost certain starters in MI’s eleven. While there are also 26-year-olds Tim David and Fabian Allen, ready replacements for Kieron Pollard.
So, although Mumbai Indians think-tank needs to be applauded for securing their future, the fans have every right to question their performance this year.
The big mistake Mumbai Indians did at the auction table was in the quest of excitedly waiting to splurge out their *decided* budget for Kishan and Archer, they let go off many brilliant cricketers, who are now performing well for other franchises, especially bowlers. A couple of bids more, and MI could have had Yuzvendra Chahal or Khaleel Ahmed or Marco Jansen….
Their bowling though had some experienced names, none barring Jasprit Bumrah who could be pointed out as a complete match-winner in himself. Still with the experience and the famed Mumbai Indians management, they were expected to fare decently.
Coming to the tournament itself, Mumbai Indians, however, haven’t been as atrocious as their 8 losses results suggest. In almost all of their losses so far – barring the defeat to RCB – they have been alive in the game for about three-fourths of the match and then losing the plot.
They have perhaps overestimated Daniel Sams’ death bowling and finishing skills from his Big Bash performances. Jaydev Unadkat has been a premier red-ball bowler but has failed to replicate his 2017 IPL numbers in the IPL. Tymal Mills, known as a T20 specialist and someone who’s revived his career, is now out of the MI eleven.
Murugan Ashwin has done a decent job with the ball, but he has barely turned around games in the past seasons with his leg spin while Mayank Markande hasn’t shown much threat for RR in the past couple of seasons. Teams have been playing out Bumrah cautiously and then have had no qualms about tearing into other MI bowlers.
Their batting has suffered majorly because of the forms of Sharma and Kishan. Brevis has shown his talent but the number three role requires him to bat deeper than he’s done while Pollard hasn’t done his job well either. Mumbai Indians have been fortunate that Tilak Varma has hit the ground running in his debut IPL season. Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak have carried their batting.
And then there’s the shocking continued exclusion of Tim David from the line-up after a couple of early failures. David has been in red-hot form in franchise leagues and surely deserves more than just two matches while batting in the most challenging role of a finisher.
Mumbai Indians haven’t been able to find their best combination that was disrupted by the poor form of Sams. They have fielded 7 batters and 4 bowlers, and 6 batters and 5 bowlers; none could bring them the two points before they returned to Sams.
Where does this leave them now? Well, the team known for their comeback will – a prediction here – do much better next season than they have done this year. They would fault themselves for being unable to grasp the key moments this season but are too good to continue the same mistakes next year also.
It’s fine; “many sporting giants” as Rohit said – or perhaps every big team – goes through such slumps, but are able to bounce back- and that is how they show the world how good they are.
We haven’t put our best foot forward in this tournament but that happens,many sporting giants have gone through this phase but I love this team and it’s environment. Also want to appreciate our well wishers who’ve shown faith and undying loyalty to this team so far 💙@mipaltan
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) April 25, 2022