It won’t be a misnomer to suggest that the Mumbai Indians are an absolute crowd favourite. And also, a team who’s winning makes fans happy, regardless of whichever outfit they support. Cricket is so intrinsically hardwired in the DNA of Mumbai- a city that has given to India names like Umrigar, Sardesai, Gavaskar, Tendulkar- that Mumbai Indians have risen as an irreplaceable colossus of the famous franchise of T20 cricket.
They are also a team that have won the IPL crown on three separate occasions and rule the contest with some grandeur.
Playing an uncompromising brand of hard-fought, passionate cricket, there’s this zeal and passion that drips off along with sweat, each time the Mumbai Indians take to the field. Or, try something extra in deceiving their opponents, whether it’s through the fury of their bat or the cunningness of the bowl.
This year too, the stakes are characteristically high for an outfit that clinched its third title in the previous season in the IPL.
We examine the strengths of their 5 key players who’ll be raring to go in the IPL 2018:
A charismatic captain and a quintessential Mumbaikar, the hard-hitting opening batsman has been in some great form of lately. While this will spur his outfit to achieve great heights yet again, it will also send out some kind of warning to MI’s detractors.
Having been on a kind of a six-hitting spree, Rohit’s bat has been oozing fire, if you watched his game in the just-concluded Nidahas T20 trophy. An in-form Sharma at the top of the order often paves way to exciting team totals, perhaps on seven occasions out of ten. But the team would be better off from not exerting too much pressure on the captain to do the bulwark of the side’s scoring.
A fantastic, driven fast-bowling exponent, Cummins can trouble batsmen with his bounce and can probe their technique by asking them questions through good seeming deliveries. He’s known to push willow-wielders to the back-foot, making them take evasive action, especially when the batsmen seem shaky vis-à-vis the pace bowler. He’s one of those players who adds a flair of exuberance to his side.
Perhaps having not played a great deal of cricket might push Pat to approach the IPL from a new, fresh perspective. This is helpful as the unpredictable format augurs well for unassuming cricketers.
Arguably India’s most exciting all-rounder, Pandya is driven by passion and, that passion has only one destination: success. Having played plenty of IPL cricket already, Pandya not only feels home at the Mumbai Indians, he feels that ever essential without which the unit looks a tad bit incomplete.
A fluent striker of the ball and someone who’s adept at hitting flat sixes, Pandya’s bowling also has good carry and his ability to chip in with wickets is set to hurt Mumbai’s opponents big. That said, Pandya would be mindful of keeping his economy rate under check.
You can’t take the familiar big fella out of the Mumbai Indians unit. Ever. Pollard is to Mumbai Indians what six-hitting is to a Chris Gayle and David Warner, two of Polly’s great adversaries in the IPL. When not hitting flat sixes akin to a grown up plucking a tiny mango from a tree, Pollard is seen diving around the ground in taking blinders. He’s also the kind of bowler who can roll his arm over a few quick overs toward the middle stage of an inning to curb high scoring rates. In all, he’s irreplaceable for the team.
A sort of player who seems to have been birthed into cricket for hitting sixes, if Gayle’s protégé, Lewis gets going, we may well be set for some amazing fireworks and pyrotechnics this season. Lewis’ favourite area of scoring is both square on the off side. An able finder of gaps on either sides, he can burst into fiery huge sixes over mid on and long-off regions. In brief, bowlers this season have their task cut out.