Mumbai Indians: Can they defend their title in the 2020 IPL?

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Glory in 2019 IPL for Mumbai Indians

The Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in IPL (Indian Premier League) history with four title wins. With the current delay and possible cancellation of the 2020 IPL, let’s look deeper into the triumph of Mumbai Indians (MI) in 2019 and assess if they have the team and form to retain their title should the IPL still go on. The Indians have missed the playoffs a total of four times in the 12 editions of the IPL. Although this is reasonable, it is sub-par compared to their inferior rivals Chennai Super Kings (CSK) who have made the playoffs every year they have played.Even though MI is the most victorious team, they are not the most consistent and well-performing. They have often unsuccessfully defended large totals of more than 190 or fail to make substantial scores altogether; sometimes making scores below 150 in their 20 Overs. This is largely due to an inconsistent and inadequate middle-order which lacks a stable, well-performing no.4. They are also in absence of a reliant fast bowler to go with the young, Indian, death bowling superstar Jasprit Bumrah as his mentor Malinga is well past his prime and the tall left-handed New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan is far from economical.

However, this year they have invested in the injury-prone, wicket-taker Nathan Coulter-Nile. He could be a good supplement to their already competent bowling attack and give them the much-needed variety, but will he be able to complete the season injury-free? Mumbai Indians also acquired the dangerous, hard-hitting Australian Chris Lynn. He is a potential solution to the number four problems for the Mumbai Indians. Despite this, he is an overseas player and if De Kock, Pollard, Lynn, and Coulter-Nile are all going to play then this leaves no space for anyone else. The likes of Boult, Malinga, and McClenaghan could get no chances in the team. I believe that the position will come down to either Boult or Coulter-Nile, who do you think should get the place?

MI has a strong line of domestic stars, and this is very beneficial due to the overseas rule. Hardik Pandya played his last game in September 2019 and has since been off with an injury and controversy. He was supposed to get in some game time before the IPL started but that has now been impossible due to the coronavirus cancelling all fixtures. Coming off a 9-month layoff, will Hardik be unfit to play? Or at the very least off his best form? Or will he benefit from a real rest after a large number of fixtures in 2018/19 and come back better than ever?

Mumbai Indians have a very capable line-up with the potential to do extremely well in this year’s edition of the IPL. Despite this, they might not have enough to win. MI has an ageing team, where a lot of the key players are either: in bad form or playing few games at a competitive level. The reason the Indians were so successful last year was largely due to the efforts of Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Quinton De Kock. With Pandya having missed 6 months of the international game, Bumrah proving to be rather expensive in the New Zealand ODI series and De Kock under pressure as new South African captain; this just doesn’t look like it’s going to be a winning year for the Mumbai Indians. I highly doubt that they will be crowned champions in 2020 should the IPL still go ahead as planned.

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