Mumbai Indians are the most successful franchise in the 15 seasons of the IPL, having won 5 trophies. MI didn’t have an ideal start in the IPL, as they failed to reach the semis in the first two seasons, before Sachin Tendulkar led them to the 2010 final, which they lost to CSK.
MI took wholesome revenge for that loss as they then defeated CSK in 3 IPL finals; in the other two they defeated RPSG and DC.
It all turned around for MI in the IPL from 2013. A number of MI players have gone into the IPL folklore and few of them have been recognized as IPL greats.
Here are the 5 greatest players of Mumbai Indians in the IPL:
Kieron Pollard played all his life in the IPL only for MI, and helped the franchise win their 5 titles. MI repaid the faith by sticking with him even when he was out of form and retained him in 2022 and used RTM for him in 2018.
Pollard amassed 3412 runs in IPL at an average of 28 with a strike rate, more importantly, of 147. He often stood up in the big games – against CSK and in the IPL playoffs and finals. He was the Man of the Match in the 2013 IPL final for his 60*(32); in the 2019 final, he scored 41* (25).
Pollard is not just the greatest MI player, but perhaps even the greatest player in the IPL.
It was Rohit Sharma who MI trusted with the captaincy duties mid-season in 2013 when they were floundering under Ponting. Rohit pulled MI from the ruins and toppled them to the top of the tournament, unexpectedly delivering the title. Since then it has largely been a superb ride for MI under Rohit’s captaincy as they now have 5 titles in their cabinet.
Under Rohit Sharma’s captain, MI created a monster of a team in 2020, when not only they were comfortably the best team in the IPL, but many hailed them as the best-ever T20 franchise team of all time.
With the bat, Rohit has scored 4709 runs for MI at an average of 30, hitting 32 fifties in the MI blue shirt.
Lasith Malinga is arguably the greatest fast bowler in the history of the IPL. The ‘slinga’ Malinga has been any MI captain’s go-to bowler throughout his career when they need a wicket; he bossed all phases of the game: he was a menace with the new ball, an enforcer in the middle-overs, and almost unhittable in the death overs with his yorkers and slower balls.
In 122 IPL matches from 2009 to 2008, Malinga picked up 170 wickets – his record was broken recently by Bravo – at an average of 19 and strike rate of 16; Malinga took 7 4-wicket hauls in his IPL career and one 5-fer.
In his last IPL match, which was the IPL 2019 final, Malinga produced a terrific last over to defend just 9 runs in the last over and win the game by 1 run.
Pandya spent 7 seasons at MI – from 2015 to 2021 – and made significant contributions in their last 4 title wins, before he was released and went to GT, his home state team. With success in his debut IPL season, Pandya also made it into the Indian team and grew in role and stature in both teams along the way, and is now India’s best seal-bowling all-rounder and a future white-ball captain.
At Mumbai Indians, Pandya featured in 92 matches, scoring 1476 runs at a terrific strike rate of 153 and picked up 42 wickets.
Bumrah made his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians in 2013 and has been with the franchise since. He was retained ahead of Pandya in 2022. Success at MI led to India call-up where he soon became the spearhead of the pace attack.
In 120 IPL matches, Bumrah has taken 145 wickets and maintained an economy of 7.4 – this is an excellent economy when you consider he bowls most of his overs either in the powerplay or in the death overs.
A special mention to Ambati Rayudu – the man for all batting positions, all situations, all conditions; the man with all answers to all questions.