IPL 2012 May 24, 2012

Free-spenders can't buy consistency

Despite splashing money this season, Mumbai Indians were rarely at the top of their game and most of their wins came through last-over heists

Where they finished

Fourth. A disappointment as it's a lower finish than last year despite the vast amounts spent on refurbishing the squad, including getting three solid Indian IPL performers to plug perceived weaknesses.

Key player

Once again Lasith Malinga was a stand-out performer, particularly in the first half of the season. His form tailed off a touch towards the end of the campaign and he finished with his worst IPL performance of 2012, leaking 41 as MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo went on the rampage in Bangalore. Still, he was indisputably their go-to bowler, and 22 wickets at an economy of 6.30 show why. The cocktail of yorkers, bouncers and slower balls continued to bamboozle batsmen, and underscored why he remains among the finest Twenty20 bowlers around.

Bargain buy

Not too many candidates for this category, as Mumbai Indians' cheaper acquisitions in the auction didn't get too many games. Perhaps Dwayne Smith, who joined a month into the tournament in place of the injured Mitchell Johnson, fits the bill. He made a dramatic entry, thumping Ben Hilfenhaus for six, four and four off the last three balls of the match to snatch victory over Chennai Super Kings. There was also an unbroken 163-run stand with Sachin Tendulkar, against Rajasthan Royals, in his first innings as an opener.

Flop buy

Dinesh Karthik was brought in from Kings XI Punjab for a reported $2.35m and though he gave Mumbai Indians the solidity they lacked last season behind the stumps, he failed to put in any match-turning performances with the bat. Given plenty of chances at No. 4, Karthik provided neither the stability when the top order failed nor the power-hitting towards the end of the innings. One of only four Mumbai Indians players to take part in every game of the campaign, he finished with a disappointing 238 runs with a strike rate of 111.73.


The opening match of the season featured the two pre-tournament favourites and was a game Mumbai Indians completely dominated: Super Kings' intimidating batting line-up was dismantled for 112 before South African Richard Levi's quick half-century on IPL debut completed the demolition. Another highlight was the victory at Eden Gardens that snapped Kolkata Knight Riders seven-game unbeaten run, with Rohit Sharma providing a reminder of his talent with a silken century. Their tenacious defence of 120 against Pune Warriors underlined their never-say-die spirit in a season where they won six matches in the final over.


Undoubtedly, the surrender at home to Delhi Daredevils, when they capsized to the lowest total of the season. They were thrashed in a couple of other matches as well, but there's a difference to being blown away by an assault from the likes of Chris Gayle or MS Dhoni, to the defeat against Daredevils. The game began with Davy Jacobs' 10-ball duck, a leading contender for worst innings of the tournament, and hardly improved. At 44 for 6, there were in line for the unwanted record of being bowled out for the smallest total in IPL history.


Every year Mumbai Indians seem to fortify their squad, but every season they have ended up short. The arrival of Karthik, RP Singh and Pragyan Ojha seemingly provided them with the strongest Indian contingent of any side in the tournament, but that was offset by mediocre seasons for two of their retained players, Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh.

Finding a destructive opening partner for the staid Tendulkar (by Twenty20 standards) proved vexing, as the South Africans Levi and Jacobs failed, as did Australia's Aiden Blizzard and Herschelle Gibbs was injured for much of the tournament. Mumbai Indians ended up trying eight different combinations, with only the James Franklin-Tendulkar combination getting more than three matches together.

The tinkering continued lower down the order as Mumbai Indians struggled to find four in-form overseas players. Several of them made a splash in their first game before fading away - Levi, Robin Peterson, Gibbs and even Smith till he was made to open. A settled combination was elusive, and Mumbai Indians tried as many as 24 players in all, the most by a franchise this season along with Deccan Chargers. In contrast, other successful teams used far fewer players: Kolkata Knight Riders (18) and Chennai (17).

The team did well in the league stages with plenty of back-from-the-dead wins but there weren't enough dominating performances by either the team or the individuals - only Rohit Sharma made it to the top 15 run-getters of the season and Lasith Malinga to the 15 most economical bowlers (min 20 overs).

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Deepak on May 27, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    My comment wasn't about asking for the ouster of Sachin, but it was just to inform people who the best replacement for Sachin would be, if he retires.

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    The biggest disappointment of is Bhaji and Mumbai Pitch. Some people is sitting to blame sachin for his moderate performance. This is not fair. he already miss 4 main matches after injury. Dont forget he was the best performance for the last 2 year of IPL. Dont Campre Dravid, Gayle or Sewag

    because these players are played good batting wicket.

  • shyam on May 26, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Everyone blames Sachin for anything, it's not really fair. He didn't play every match and he was injured, if he played every match and then we still flopped then fair enough but there was enough talent other than Sachin to carry us through to the final. Bhajji's time is over now, I cant really see him playing for India anytime soon.

  • amol on May 26, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    dear SR,

    plz help me understand if Harbhajan was to play a pseudo captain then what was his need in the team. neither did he perform with bat nor with bat...fielding was never a strong point of the Turbanator...I believe the MI needs a complete overhaul...SRT should just do his role as an opener and should let the captain decide what he wants. I felt HBS was totally dependent on for smallest of small decisions...or so did it look on screen.

    MI needs a better person to lead...pointless to give example of each of other 8 team's captains...and how did they perform in a winning cause; for HBS can't even remember a solid performance ...

    HBS is not in his peak and should do some introspection before taking on an important role of a leader.

    Keiron Pollard...2 seasons ... haven't done anything consistently except failing with Bat n Ball...I really admire his fielding though.

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Mumbai is like Man City....They will win the IPL once in a while only.

  • Rajan on May 26, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    @Sreelal_SS People will keep blaming Sachin even after he retires for retiring at the wrong time. Hahaha

  • Srinivasan on May 26, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Nowdays Sachin is not prepared to leave the crease to attack the spin bowlers. Once who dominated Shane Warne in his prime, was not ready to leave the crease and attack a ordinary spin bowler like Jakati. Very sad to see. Harbhajan should retire from all format of the game.

  • harish on May 26, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    @SST19(on Sachin): yep, and Sachin led the desert storm(against Aus in 90's), had a 100+ avg at SCG, highest scorer of WC 2003. We all know that, friend. And that's History. Let's talk of the present for a change. @JBIndia: I like your idea, pal. Atleast they won't figure in the series immediately after IPL. And to all those who write "form is temporary, but class is permanent", let me remind you that age and fitness are not permanent. This year, arguably the fittest of all veterans retired. Facebooker(May 24 2012, 18:05 PM GMT): also pls remind us when was the last time Sachin helped India chase 250+ successfully. I am no critic of Sachin or his fans. Jusssst giving food for thought. Nothing more. Looking forward to an entertaining evening on Sunday. CSK-KKR

  • adithya on May 26, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    mi were dissapointing in this series but they had the team to win it.on paper they can beat any side anywhere.they bought too many players and they didn't use many good players in this ipl.their mistake at the auction was not picking people like bravo who was played for them in first three years.but he has been match winner for csk this year.drop harbhajan from captaincy and from playing xi.he never finished his quota of overs and he is feared of getting hit.hope the team management gets their act together and good luck for mi in next ipl.

  • Sreelal on May 25, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    stop it,guys ; stop blaming Sachin for everything...

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