Mumbai Indians are the two-time defending champions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and would be looking to create history as they seek a hat-trick of titles in 2021. They have a very strong top and middle order, firepower in the lower order, world-class fast bowlers and variety in their spin department which makes for a formidable and balanced unit.
MI have been the most successful side in the history of the IPL with 5 titles. They have a host of superstars capable of winning a match single-handedly for their team.
We look at 5 players who can potentially make the maximum difference to the MI campaign this year.
1. Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah was the highest wicket-taker for the Mumbai Indians, both in IPL 2019 and 2020, playing the pivotal role with the ball in their victorious campaign. He was the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament in 2020 with 27 wickets in 15 matches at a strike rate of 13.33. He had bagged 19 wickets in the previous season. Not only has Bumrah been amongst the wickets but also been remarkably restrictive with an economy rate of 6.73 and 6.63 in the last two editions – this is a phenomenal performance given he bowls a number of overs in the powerplay and at the death. He has an outstanding record for MI since 2016.
2. Trent Boult
Trent Boult was the third-highest wicket-taker of the season in the UAE in 2020 with 25 wickets in 15 matches at a strike rate of 13.76. He has this uncanny knack of picking wickets with the new ball and pushing the opposition on the backfoot. The New Zealander was also brilliant in the big matches – the knockouts showcasing another special quality of raising his game in the matches that mattered the most.
Boult’s best performance of the season came against CSK in Sharjah when he returned with 4-18 in 4 overs. He was also excellent with the new ball against the Capitals in the group match in Dubai seeing the back of Dhawan and Shaw in his first two overs – the left-armer returned with 3-21 in his 4 overs.
3. Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has been the unsung hero of Mumbai Indians over the last three years. He is the highest scorer in terms of combined aggregate for the champion franchise between 2018-2020 – the period in which they have lifted the trophy on two occasions. He has been the Mr Consistent scoring runs match after match and season after season.
Yadav scored 512 runs at a strike rate of 133.33 in 2018, 424 runs at a strike rate of 130.86 in 2019 and 480 runs at a strike rate of 145.01 in 2020. He has an aggregate of 1416 runs in the last three seasons and played a pivotal role with the bat in their successive title wins in 2019 and 2020. This is no mean achievement in a team full of superstars. Versatility is another quality of Yadav’s batting. While he batted at number 3 in IPL 2020 and IPL 2019, he was hugely successful as an opener in IPL 2018.
4. Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya provides the X-Factor to the Mumbai Indians batting line-up in the lower order. He has the ability to change the course of a match in a space of a couple of overs. He was in devastating form in IPL 2019 hammering 402 runs in 16 matches at a mind-boggling strike rate of 191.42. Pandya had 7 above-200 strike rate innings (min. runs 25) in the season. He was again second on the strike rate charts in IPL 2020 blasting 281 runs at a rate of almost 179. Pandya has the ability to clear the boundary at will and is impossible to bowl to when in the mood.
5. Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard is one of the most intimidating batsmen in the history of T20 cricket. He has the brute force to clear any boundary anywhere in the world and forms a destructive lower-order pair with Hardik Pandya for the Mumbai Indians. Pollard scored 268 runs in the UAE last year at a stunning strike rate of 191.42 – the highest in the tournament. His highest impact innings – a sensational 83 off just 31 deliveries – came against Kings XI Punjab in Mumbai in 2019.
Pollard is also a very useful right-arm fast-medium bowler and an astute captain providing invaluable inputs to Rohit Sharma. His success in the Caribbean Premier League and knowledge of playing in the big matches help Mumbai Indians in the pressure situations in the Qualifiers in the IPL.