Mumbai Indians 2013 review May 27, 2013

Underachievers no longer

Fancied Mumbai Indians took six seasons to finally get the monkey off their back when they were crowned IPL champions on Sunday
35

Where they finished
Six seasons into the league they were supposed to win from the start, they finally won the damn thing on Sunday against Chennai Super Kings. This was the season Mumbai Indians finally made the transition from being a collection of superstars that always failed on the big night, to a champion side that absorbed pressure and overcame it. The tag of "The Best Side Never To Win The IPL" that had attached itself to them was finally shaken off. What Mumbai Indians did in the league stage didn't matter, for when it came to the playoffs, you knew what would happen. An opposition such as Chennai Super Kings would apply pressure, and invariably Mumbai would cave in.

Pressure was indeed applied, but it was Super Kings who did the folding in the final. Whether Mumbai would make the playoffs or not was never in doubt. They have been giving themselves a shot at the title since 2010. Again, they came up short against Super Kings in the first qualifier, and crumbled meekly. Deja vu. Told you so. Here we go again.

Both in the second qualifier against Rajasthan Royals and the final, Mumbai were up against six seasons of underachievement, which in their case meant anything less than winning the trophy, as Rahul Dravid put it. Both times, their powerful batting wobbled, and both times, it refreshingly held up. It took them six seasons to finally get the monkey off their back.

What went right
Persisting with players and combinations has not always come easily to Mumbai in the past. They played five specialist bowlers almost through the season, barring a couple of games. While the fifth bowler proved expensive at times, Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh, who largely abandoned the leg-side darts, had outstanding seasons.

Lasith Malinga was taken apart in the first two playoff matches, but that opening over in the final - the inswinging yorker and bouncer - was match-winning stuff. He'd been used as a change and death bowler through the season, and Rohit Sharma and the team management have to be credited for going a different direction in the final, whether or not it was the presence of MS Dhoni down the order that dictated the move.

Five bowlers meant only six batsmen. Once Mumbai realised Ricky Ponting was not clicking, they stuck with Rohit as captain and Dwayne Smith as the opener. Rohit and Dinesh Karthik had a superb league stage, and when they failed in the playoffs, Kieron Pollard and Smith stepped in. These four made up for average seasons for the other two, Sachin Tendulkar and Ambati Rayudu. Rayudu redeemed himself somewhat with invaluable support to Pollard in the final.

What went wrong

Pondulkar. Only garnered eyeballs, not results.

Best player
This was an attack too reliant on Malinga in the past. Mitchell Johnson came in and bowled with so much fire that Malinga wasn't required at the start of the innings. Johnson nearly always picked up wickets with the new ball, and his spell that softened up Chris Gayle in Mumbai was quality fast bowling. Johnson can be a double-edged sword, though, and needs careful handling. Which is where the presence of Ponting helped, as Johnson himself admitted.

Only six batsmen ensured Kieron Pollard was not wasted, something Mumbai have been guilty of so often, including in the 2010 IPL final, when he was held back till he was rendered ineffectual at No. 8. This was the first IPL season he didn't bat lower than No. 6. That is probably also why it was his best season, nearly 150 runs more than second-best. He came in at 52 for 4 in the final, and responded with 60 off 32 despite being largely off strike at the death. He got to face the last two balls of the innings and hit them both for sixes. Twenty20 gold.

Poor performer
Ricky Ponting never got going in the six games he gave himself. An average of 10.40 and a strike-rate of 69.33 say it all.

Surprise package
More than the man, the surprise was in the approach. He actually flighted the ball, which dipped, turned and bounced. There were quick topspinners, there was the occasional doosra. There were 24 wickets at 6.51 an over. He quelled a strong Royals start in the second qualifier. This was Harbhajan Singh from another era, and he had his best IPL season by some distance.

Recommended for retention
They would wish they could retain some more, but assuming a limit of four, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SolFish on May 27, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    I've noticed that Dwayne Smith is the most underrated and under appreciated player here and on the West Indies team. His 68 in the last match before this final made sure that Mumbai went to the finals, the run out of Bracewall off the last ball against NZ by Smith made sure WI went through to the Semis and went on to win the World Cup. It seems throughout his career he is the last to be hired and the first to be fired, even after he won 2 MOM awards, the commentators were still calling for him to be replaced by Pointing, other players are allowed numerous failures and still retained. The time has come for Dwayne Smith to be given the the respect due him and encouraged, rather than be discouraged the moment he fails and be discarded, while others are given permission to become failures over and over again.

  • on May 27, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    I think the approach as writer has mentioned here made the difference to MIs campaign this yr which in past three seasons had been close to 'chokers' tag ...this time they showed no mercy to non-performers , let it be any big name unlike the past seasons where several non performers , mostly overseas buys were retained in playin 11 despite of poor show . And I guess here having a star think tank inlucluding John wright -kumble-Jonty -Robin singh and of course Pondulkar helped . finally a reward after wait of 6 long yrs for us fans as well :)

  • on January 3, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    5 player will be retained Rohit sharma harbhajan singh kieron pollard/dwayne smith malinga mitchell johnson/rayudu/ karthik

  • on October 21, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    in next auction mi need to find the replacement of sachin.and second they should buy their key player who help them to win ipl like dwayne smith , mitchell johnson ,

  • Tweaky on May 29, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    Mumbai will probably pick Bhajji over Karthik for retention...they already have a bunch of wicket keepers in Tare and Rayudu, both of whom are more than handy with bat. Plus, MI has an emotional connect with Bhajji courtesy his friendship with Sachin.

  • Kamalakantameher on May 29, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    @SadhaP,there is no place of "would"in cricket.In final if smith wouldnot out then MI shall scored 220 .But result is result and try to digest it.

  • SadhaP on May 28, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    People are talking about 3-1 and 9-6, forgetting the fact that CSK has better record than any other team.2 times champion, 3 times runners and 1 CLT20. Also the only team figuring in playoffs all the time. Except CSK, other winners never came back (RR, Deccan, KKR,)strongly the next year. So wait for an year, you will see MI listing bottom in the table of IPL7

  • Harshmeswanirafanadal on May 28, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    Also strict disciplinary action should be taken against players who have shown terrible attitude throughout tournament by the team management. Pollard, Johnson and DK should be given a talking to. Pathetic display of behaviour(this goes for all teams). I wonder how we arent last on fairplay award!

  • Harshmeswanirafanadal on May 28, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    If there is anyone to be retained its MJohnson or Dwayne Smith. Both these guys have definitely played better than Polly, malinga and deserve to get in. Pollard played just 3 substantial innings out of 16 despite getting to play everytime and his catch was dropped in final. Malinga has done brilliantly every year so he can still be retained. Karthik had a good start but faded away towards end. Rohit and Bhajji were best 2 players by far. Harbhajan, Rohit. Johnson and Malinga should be retained or smith in place of malinga. Bowling is our strong point so we shoudnt let that get depleted batting is anyways weak so might as well keep bowlers strong. Good luck for next season!

  • Provost on May 28, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Thanks CSK for letting MI win so that Sachin retires. It is a great service to IPL. If not sachin will show up next year also.......the controversy at the right time helped MI win (not sure whehter it is planned by Mumbai police/ambani etc.). Now it looks like too many indian politicians involved so we will never find the truth.........Chennai fan (CSK or any other team which comes in its place).

  • SolFish on May 27, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    I've noticed that Dwayne Smith is the most underrated and under appreciated player here and on the West Indies team. His 68 in the last match before this final made sure that Mumbai went to the finals, the run out of Bracewall off the last ball against NZ by Smith made sure WI went through to the Semis and went on to win the World Cup. It seems throughout his career he is the last to be hired and the first to be fired, even after he won 2 MOM awards, the commentators were still calling for him to be replaced by Pointing, other players are allowed numerous failures and still retained. The time has come for Dwayne Smith to be given the the respect due him and encouraged, rather than be discouraged the moment he fails and be discarded, while others are given permission to become failures over and over again.

  • on May 27, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    I think the approach as writer has mentioned here made the difference to MIs campaign this yr which in past three seasons had been close to 'chokers' tag ...this time they showed no mercy to non-performers , let it be any big name unlike the past seasons where several non performers , mostly overseas buys were retained in playin 11 despite of poor show . And I guess here having a star think tank inlucluding John wright -kumble-Jonty -Robin singh and of course Pondulkar helped . finally a reward after wait of 6 long yrs for us fans as well :)

  • on January 3, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    5 player will be retained Rohit sharma harbhajan singh kieron pollard/dwayne smith malinga mitchell johnson/rayudu/ karthik

  • on October 21, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    in next auction mi need to find the replacement of sachin.and second they should buy their key player who help them to win ipl like dwayne smith , mitchell johnson ,

  • Tweaky on May 29, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    Mumbai will probably pick Bhajji over Karthik for retention...they already have a bunch of wicket keepers in Tare and Rayudu, both of whom are more than handy with bat. Plus, MI has an emotional connect with Bhajji courtesy his friendship with Sachin.

  • Kamalakantameher on May 29, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    @SadhaP,there is no place of "would"in cricket.In final if smith wouldnot out then MI shall scored 220 .But result is result and try to digest it.

  • SadhaP on May 28, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    People are talking about 3-1 and 9-6, forgetting the fact that CSK has better record than any other team.2 times champion, 3 times runners and 1 CLT20. Also the only team figuring in playoffs all the time. Except CSK, other winners never came back (RR, Deccan, KKR,)strongly the next year. So wait for an year, you will see MI listing bottom in the table of IPL7

  • Harshmeswanirafanadal on May 28, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    Also strict disciplinary action should be taken against players who have shown terrible attitude throughout tournament by the team management. Pollard, Johnson and DK should be given a talking to. Pathetic display of behaviour(this goes for all teams). I wonder how we arent last on fairplay award!

  • Harshmeswanirafanadal on May 28, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    If there is anyone to be retained its MJohnson or Dwayne Smith. Both these guys have definitely played better than Polly, malinga and deserve to get in. Pollard played just 3 substantial innings out of 16 despite getting to play everytime and his catch was dropped in final. Malinga has done brilliantly every year so he can still be retained. Karthik had a good start but faded away towards end. Rohit and Bhajji were best 2 players by far. Harbhajan, Rohit. Johnson and Malinga should be retained or smith in place of malinga. Bowling is our strong point so we shoudnt let that get depleted batting is anyways weak so might as well keep bowlers strong. Good luck for next season!

  • Provost on May 28, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Thanks CSK for letting MI win so that Sachin retires. It is a great service to IPL. If not sachin will show up next year also.......the controversy at the right time helped MI win (not sure whehter it is planned by Mumbai police/ambani etc.). Now it looks like too many indian politicians involved so we will never find the truth.........Chennai fan (CSK or any other team which comes in its place).

  • Kiran910 on May 28, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    All the CSK fans are having hard time digesting the fact that the better team on the D-day won, and are suitably blaming the off-field affairs, even going to an extent of saying that CSK lost purposefully to avoid further controversies!! Those who said CSK is a better team, 3-1 in IPL2013 and 9-6 overall in favor of MI shows the truth to an extent. One of the thing CSK was good at, compared to MI, was to hold the nerves and show good temperament in crucial knockout matches, which I guess again CSK fans were expecting, but on the day MI played better cricket and won! Had I been a true CSK fan, i would have appreciated MI effort in final and accepted the defeat with grace, rather than making it a case of sour grapes!

  • SadhaP on May 28, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    @Kamalakantameher, it is Simple CSK and MI bad at chasing when they play each other. CSK chased 3 times and lost, MI chased 1 time and lost. So both are equal teams and they have their own weakness in chasing. If CSK would have won the toss in the final then the story would have been different !!!...

  • Rajeev129 on May 28, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    No word about Million Dollar baby.

  • on May 28, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Yes, we thank the Mumbai Police, and so should you. They have done the game a great service. You should be gunning for your franchise owners instead. CSK are a good team, and the most consistent team through all the six seasons, but Mumbai was supreme this season. CSK got the better of us in the playoffs and we do not blame it on complacency like CSK did previously. A team does a good job of restricting the opposition to 140 odd and then just because it is demolished by the opposition, blames it on complacency. The final was a one-sided affair after 21 overs of play and there was only ONE Deserved winner that day. 3-1 this season. 9-6 overall. If all is fair, this is the scoreline that will remain till a new owner comes in for Chennai.

  • on May 28, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    retain: Rohit, Harbhajan,Malinga,Pollard bid:Karthik, Smith, Starc, Johnson, Shakib, Zaheer/Vinay, Ojha, Uthappa, Yuvraj

  • Rajeshj on May 28, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Being a CSK fan, I thought the team put up a brave face in spite of the controversies surrounding its ex-owner's actions.. Its hard to play your natural game under such circumstances.. This time around, Mumbai had a really good team, but so is CSK.. you cannot discount the fact that CSK demolished MI in the play-offs.. that's because they played their natural game.. not in the finals, as you can see that they were too distracted .. Again, if Bravo is over-rated, then so is Kieron Pollard.. At least Bravo took wickets consistently .. You can't discount the fact that Mumbai police helped MI to a large extent by spicing up the betting case at the right time... MI should thank them generously for getting the cup...

  • Kamalakantameher on May 28, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Dear GerraldLK,your csk has been defeated 3 times out of 4 by MI.So it 4 you that csk is a weak team like pune who didnot chase 140 and 149,bundled to 79.So MI is superior than csk.

  • on May 28, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    Mumbai were the better team. CSK moved to the top of the table only after both teams lost the last inconsequential match. Mumbai have a much 9-6 record against CSK, and they are superior to CSK. Bravo is an over-rated bowler, Jadeja's batting is a joke. Dhoni's efforts in the finals were not wasted, there was no effort to win at all. Coming in after the match was already out of hands, he made no attempts to get to the target. What is CSK bragging all about? Mumbai was a far better side this season as the 3-1 record suggests.

  • Sanghimangi on May 28, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Good that Sachin retired on time atleast this time. He might felt that, he has done mistake by not retiring from ODI immediately after winning world cup, and corrected his mistake this time around.

    Otherwise, franchise must be worrying to retain him by spending huge money and will be in trouble to buy good players. In other words, if franchise let him go into the auction, he might be unsold like Ganguly or get pulled back from the auction in last minute like Kumble to avoid such humiliation.

    Anyhow, the Lion has retired like Lion and in its own style. Eager to see Sachin in dugout as mentor or commentator. We cant miss you.

    In retention is concerned, I look forward to see atleast 3 Indians and 1 foreigner. In that way, I prefer, Rohit (c), DK/Ojha, Harbhajan and Pollard.

  • GerrardLK on May 28, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    Lucky escape for Mumbai as they played the finals against CSK who had to lose in order NOT to create any more drama off the field. It's CSK who lost, not MI who won. And the other team they played in the playoffs was RR who was also under scanner of spot fixing scandals. Moreover the umpiring decisions favoured MI alot. The real MI side was the one who played CSK in the playoffs. Considering all these with the star studded players, MI is just an ordinary side.

  • on May 28, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    MI during the auctions please try to get all players back in your squad, now with Sachin is not there you can use his salary!!!!! We need Johnson, Bhaji, Raydu, Smith all of 'em back in the team....

  • on May 28, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    sachin wins bigtime! so happy and ready to retire, finally!

  • on May 28, 2013, 3:09 GMT

    Finally a win for MI in IPL 2013. But events happened during final overs and post celebrations left lot to be desired. 1. When Pollard about to bowl the last ball of the innings, suddenly Harbajan Sing started coming close to slip cordon and Pollard was amusingly smiling at him holding the ball without bowling. A kind of insulting gesture to Dhoni. 2. Dinesh was screaming even before the final over was bowled and was controlled by Rohit. Hard to understand the gestures. You can compare the experience the other teams celebrations during their victory campaign. In the name of enthusiasm these cricketers has exhibited their half boiled maturity.

  • on May 28, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    @ vijay2pvk... if the rule wasnt there then #1 team would have played #4 team and similarly #2 would have played #3 and that would have meant matchups between MI-RR and CSK-SRH. MI defeated RR in any case to reach the finals. Your logic is wrong. 1 off day doesnt mean the side is not good enough

  • on May 28, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    truth be told - it was really the csk choking this time around vs. the mi outwitting and outplaying them....i am not a csk fan - not by a long shot, but can't help think how lucky mi was this time around to have found arguably the best performing team in ipl6 mired by the spot-fixing controversy involving its ownership....happy for sachin though, as this is another feather in his cap

  • venbas on May 28, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Mumbai finally won thanks to the Mumbai Police playing the X factor surprising CSK. Unfortunately due to irresponsible action of their maverick owner, all the good work and consistent performance over 6 seasons went down the drain.

  • WristyFlick101 on May 28, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    @vijay2pvk - MI played their arse off in the group stage to get into the top 2. So it's not a back door entry mate! They deserved 2nd chance based on their group stage performance. "If the rule is not their" - you are talking all hypothetical mate! Just accept it - MI are the IPL Champions! Of course MI fans are very happy unlike sore losers like you!

  • vxttemp on May 27, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @Mahesh Chavda: Oh I see. So who is leading batting charts from MI. I guess Rohit and Dinesh. Who stabilized their batting in final? Is it not Rayudu? Apart from Pollard, the other 3 performers for batting in the final was Dinesh, Rayudu & Bajji. Forgot who has orange cap and purple cap for this IPL(oops Hussey and Bravo for CSK who are Indians) LOL

  • vxttemp on May 27, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    @vijay2pvk: Smarty, if it is routine Semi-final way, MI would have played RR/SRH first and not table toppers CSk in a semi-final :-) LOL

  • on May 27, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    No Indian player played well enough in MI team to win match. Relied lot on foreign players :(

  • vijay2pvk on May 27, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    MI fans can't be happy, it's a back door entry to win after losing to csk during qualifier. If the rule is not their then Ofcourse MI would have packed their bags after losing to csk in Qualifier 1

  • InsideHedge on May 27, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    As a MI fan, I'm delighted we finally won. However, too much credit is being given for decisions that we, amateurs, pointed out years ago.

    Those in the "think tank" that had kept Pollard too far down the order these past seasons should be held accountable. The same fools strategised that he should bowl his full quota of 4 overs regardless of the fact that bowling's his weaker suit. Finally, this season, he was typically used on average 2 overs per match.

    The opening partnership has been a constant problem. Sachin's injury was a blessing in disguise as was his complete absence in the Champions Trophy win a few yrs back in SA. Not a coincidence.

    Finally, until Dinesh Karthick was belatedly purchased, MI never nailed down the wicket keeper's slot, they constantly tinkered with below par players in what will always be a specialist position. You do NOT compromise with the keeper's slot.

    Do you really need Wright, Kumble, Tendulkar, and Ponting to figure out the bleeding obvious?

  • TheDarkKnight1988 on May 27, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    MUMBAI INDIANS, my team finally won the cup, as a mumbaikar waited for it for 6 years, will always miss sachin

  • on May 27, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    @Kumar Mihir..My thoughts you put it in words. I am from Hyderabad but still I supported MI because only for sachin.

  • on May 27, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    I am not a Mumbaikar !!!! But because of Sachin factor i attached myself with this team, the only other reasons might be Indians Suffix with its name. Finally i am relieved because of two reasons, one the team whom i supported for last six years finally won the IPl, and second as Sachin is not around for another Ipl i can Cheer/choose Other teams as well. Well done boys especially Rayadu, Pollard, Rohit,Bhajji,Mallinga, karthik and team.

  • on May 27, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    I am not a Mumbaikar !!!! But because of Sachin factor i attached myself with this team, the only other reasons might be Indians Suffix with its name. Finally i am relieved because of two reasons, one the team whom i supported for last six years finally won the IPl, and second as Sachin is not around for another Ipl i can Cheer/choose Other teams as well. Well done boys especially Rayadu, Pollard, Rohit,Bhajji,Mallinga, karthik and team.

  • on May 27, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    @Kumar Mihir..My thoughts you put it in words. I am from Hyderabad but still I supported MI because only for sachin.

  • TheDarkKnight1988 on May 27, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    MUMBAI INDIANS, my team finally won the cup, as a mumbaikar waited for it for 6 years, will always miss sachin

  • InsideHedge on May 27, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    As a MI fan, I'm delighted we finally won. However, too much credit is being given for decisions that we, amateurs, pointed out years ago.

    Those in the "think tank" that had kept Pollard too far down the order these past seasons should be held accountable. The same fools strategised that he should bowl his full quota of 4 overs regardless of the fact that bowling's his weaker suit. Finally, this season, he was typically used on average 2 overs per match.

    The opening partnership has been a constant problem. Sachin's injury was a blessing in disguise as was his complete absence in the Champions Trophy win a few yrs back in SA. Not a coincidence.

    Finally, until Dinesh Karthick was belatedly purchased, MI never nailed down the wicket keeper's slot, they constantly tinkered with below par players in what will always be a specialist position. You do NOT compromise with the keeper's slot.

    Do you really need Wright, Kumble, Tendulkar, and Ponting to figure out the bleeding obvious?

  • vijay2pvk on May 27, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    MI fans can't be happy, it's a back door entry to win after losing to csk during qualifier. If the rule is not their then Ofcourse MI would have packed their bags after losing to csk in Qualifier 1

  • on May 27, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    No Indian player played well enough in MI team to win match. Relied lot on foreign players :(

  • vxttemp on May 27, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    @vijay2pvk: Smarty, if it is routine Semi-final way, MI would have played RR/SRH first and not table toppers CSk in a semi-final :-) LOL

  • vxttemp on May 27, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    @Mahesh Chavda: Oh I see. So who is leading batting charts from MI. I guess Rohit and Dinesh. Who stabilized their batting in final? Is it not Rayudu? Apart from Pollard, the other 3 performers for batting in the final was Dinesh, Rayudu & Bajji. Forgot who has orange cap and purple cap for this IPL(oops Hussey and Bravo for CSK who are Indians) LOL

  • WristyFlick101 on May 28, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    @vijay2pvk - MI played their arse off in the group stage to get into the top 2. So it's not a back door entry mate! They deserved 2nd chance based on their group stage performance. "If the rule is not their" - you are talking all hypothetical mate! Just accept it - MI are the IPL Champions! Of course MI fans are very happy unlike sore losers like you!

  • venbas on May 28, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Mumbai finally won thanks to the Mumbai Police playing the X factor surprising CSK. Unfortunately due to irresponsible action of their maverick owner, all the good work and consistent performance over 6 seasons went down the drain.