Mumbai Indians IPL 2014 review May 29, 2014

Mumbai toppled by lopsided squad

The defending champions got off to a horrendous start, and though they edged into the playoffs the squad lacked the quality and depth of 2013
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Where they finished

The Eliminator after finishing fourth, with seven wins from 14 matches.

What went right

Mumbai Indians were one of two teams to sweep their home games in 2013. This year, their batting was continuously disappointing in the UAE but on their return to the Wankhede Stadium, they toppled Kings XI Punjab, the most dominant team of the season. They dropped only one game at their home ground. Lendl Simmons provided impetus at the top and with his performances, Mumbai managed scores that their bowlers had a proper chance of defending.

Harbhajan Singh was the other notable positive. The offspinner was more inclined to toss the ball up and even indulged in a few doosras, something he has mostly avoided in recent years. His 14 wickets came at an economy of 6.47 - second only to Sunil Narine for bowlers who have sent down more than 50 overs. Among the other regulars (besides Lasith Malinga and Zaheer Khan) Jasprit Bumrah was the only one with an economy under 8. Had Harbhajan received more support, Mumbai might have prolonged their season.

What went wrong

Five successive losses in the UAE. Rohit Sharma was vocal about the pride he felt in his team turning that run around and making the playoffs, but it was hardly the best way to kick off the defence of their only IPL title. A lopsided squad was attributed to poor strategy while retaining players and subsequently at the auction as well. They carried four wicketkeepers, their captain was not in the best of form, their premier finisher was returning from a long injury layoff, they hounded after the flavour of the season, arguably needlessly, and they had no back up for their best bowler when they knew he would have to leave for national duty.

Michael Hussey's struggles in the early season was as good as a poison pill. He had topped the charts for the run-getters list last year and seemed a lock to remedy the losses of Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith. Instead, Mumbai had to wait 10 matches for their first 50-plus opening partnership, in which time they had already fiddled with seven different combinations at the top. Rohit and Pollard were shuttled up and down to batting order on the basis of which holes needed to be filled the most. Neither of them were consistent and their dilemma over scoring quickly or battening down the hatches contributed to flagging run-rates in the middle overs. There was so much dearth that Aditya Tare (who played only five matches last season) and CM Gautam found a place in the XI quite regularly despite averaging under 20. An injury to Zaheer and Malinga's departure for England also left the bowling attack starkly depleted.

Key stat

Mumbai's scoring rate was 7.29 until the final league game against Rajasthan Royals. It was the lowest among all teams. They struck the second-lowest number of fours (164) and were third-lowest sixes (65).

Best player

Lendl Simmons made his IPL debut on May 10th. Since then, the only person who has accumulated more runs has been Robin Uthappa. Simmons' inclusion, with Malinga on national duty, helped remedy a fragile top order. The average opening partnership before he took the job was 14.57. Since he stepped up, it shot to 50. He doesn't look particularly elegant, but in getting his front leg out of the way and bashing the ball either side of the wicket, he was quite effective. A century - the only one of the IPL so far - boosted his average to 56.28.

Poor performer

The return of the IPL to India coincided with slow-bowling taking greater precedence. Although it has been a heartening season for the quicks, seven of the top-15 wicket-takers were spinners. Mumbai, with a stunted attack, needed Harbhajan and Pragyan Ojha to form a profitable partnership. However, Ojha looped the ball too high, allowing batsmen to get underneath him or dragged it too short to sit up for the pull and unlike Harbhajan, he looked toothless once the batsman got on a roll. Ojha had the benefit of 24 Tests under his belt, yet his tally of four wickets in 12 matches at an economy rate of 8.26 placed him well below little-known Karanveer Singh, whose seven wickets required only three matches.

Surprise package

Corey Anderson played only three matches during the ODI series against India in January, but he was New Zealand's highest wicket-taker. Against West Indies, he had struck a career-defining century which tipped him as the best buy of the IPL auction. Mumbai's interest in him was almost guaranteed, despite having the very same player in Pollard. However, an average of 18.75 twinned with a strike-rate of 118 was not what the owners had bargained for. He struggled coping with high-quality spin, he resorted to slogging at the ball too hard and consequently was dropped for a few matches. His whirlwind at Wankhede was a long time coming and though it propelled them into the knockouts, his own relief at the end of that game revealed how much more had been expected of him.

Memorable moment

Despite their indifferent season, Mumbai did provide one of the most exhilarating matches in the league's history, culminating in the most important six Aditya Tare has hit in his career so far. He had just reached the crease. His side had needed 190 off 14.3 overs in the final league game to steal a playoff spot from Rajasthan Royals. They got 189. Wankhede had careened into despair until it was revealed that the net run-rate equation allowed for one final hurrah. If Tare could hit the 14.4th delivery to the boundary, Mumbai could still win well enough to make the eliminator. The rumble began, James Faulkner revved up and Tare was presented with a leg-stump full toss. The next several minutes were a blur of emotion as Tare smashed a resounding six and Wankhede erupted. Rahul Dravid flung his Royals cap into the turf, Tare brandished the Mumbai jersey at the opposition captain and hurtled away to the dugout to be mobbed by his team-mates.

Unused players

Josh Hazlewood, Sushant Marathe, Apoorv Wankhade and Jalaj Saxena (withdrawn after injury)

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mithun2880 on May 31, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    If you see and compare the other team you see a mixed balance of bits and pieces players and seems the way to go in IPL T20. On other side MI has gone for specialist batsmen and bowlers. MI should look for local Mumbai talent which has a big pool of productive players. Look at the other team all local Mumbai players for other teams RR has 4-5 mumbai players in the playing 11.

  • BarclaysRahul on May 31, 2014, 2:07 GMT

    Think Praveen Kumar richly deserves some mention to what he brought to the team. His in-Out swingers were a treat to watch after missing him from the longer formats in Indian colors.

  • Cpt.Meanster on May 30, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    I think the time has come for Mumbai to throw out Kieron Pollard who has been useless for the past couple of seasons for them. Add to that, their middle order is a weak one to say the least. The biggest mistake was obviously to not retain Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik. But they need to find a couple of Indian domestic players for the Champions League. Otherwise, too much is left for Hussey, Anderson, Rohit and Pollard to do. You can't expect Simmons to give you flying starts every game. The bowling is okay but can be better. They need 1 good fast bowler, preferably an Indian and also an extra spinner to aid Harbhajan and Ojha. I can't seem to improve any more and I expect them to perform the same way next season as well.

  • niazbhi on May 30, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    MI is in a great shape. They have almost all the weapons. They need to bring a couple of indian spinners instead of Ohja and play Bumrah, PK, Harbhajan, Malinga. Their batting is fairly good. They can change Anderson or Pollard for another foreign batman, it would not change much. Its hard to pick between Hussey, Maxwell, Pollard, Smith, Hales, Faf, Miller, ABD, JP, Perara.. so many great international players. There are at least 15 or 20 great batsmen.

  • SpaMaster on May 30, 2014, 14:54 GMT

    Oh please, this "defending" of title is overrated these days. Nobody is really defending titles. Every year it is a new tournament. Teams are completely revamped. Mumbai were current champions, but defending? No, neither were Rajasthan, Chennai, Deccan and Kolkata in the past. Next is these evaluation of players picked from tournament. This is a sport. Everything is not guaranteed at the top. You are not guaranteed the output of players when they were picked. If that were the case, everybody would have gone for Maxwell and Uthappa. Dinesh Karthik and Yuvraj would not have commanded so much money. What were Maxwell and Uthappa doing in the earlier seasons? This is sport. Lot of unknowns are there. Players develop. There is a certain luck/uncertainty factor involved. Sure, Punjab did well (BTW they lost the qualifier, isn't it) and let's congratulate them. But to say that they were the best predictors of future is not right..

  • on May 30, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    MI should change their strategy a bit next year.the 1st thing that they cant afford is playing both Pollard & Anderson in the same team.both r matchwinners at their own day bt otherwise extremely inconsistent too.1 such player is enough.2nd abroad space is reserved to Malinga whenever he is available.since malinga is there they dnt need 3 othr fastie,release one for accumulating Simmons.and for thr 4th spot they need a batsman who can bowl good spin balls who can hit the ball well.I prefer another careebian Samuels for that slot(hussey may retire so they can sign a new player).so the 1st team should be : Simmons, Tare,Rohith,Samuels,Pollard/Corry,Rayudu,Harbhajan,Zaheer/Pk,Malinga,Ojha,Bumrah

  • ShivakumarAiyar on May 30, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Fairly good analysis by A Muthu

  • on May 30, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    discharge hussey and ojha will get extra 10crs in next auction. try to buy hales of eng / tamim fr banglasesh. look out option of oza frm domastic sack. and also 1 middle order batsman

  • on May 30, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    K11P attacked from start hence finished top of table

    Mumbai consumed overs by mediocres in bowling & batting & left finest bowlers & batters with too few overs in the end...............It's like u play bradman or Sachin as 7 & expect them to win u games??

  • Siva_Bala75 on May 30, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Ankit Sharma- all OK. Murali Karthik and nadeem below par. What about Ojha? Ojha is just not suited for T20. Period.

  • mithun2880 on May 31, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    If you see and compare the other team you see a mixed balance of bits and pieces players and seems the way to go in IPL T20. On other side MI has gone for specialist batsmen and bowlers. MI should look for local Mumbai talent which has a big pool of productive players. Look at the other team all local Mumbai players for other teams RR has 4-5 mumbai players in the playing 11.

  • BarclaysRahul on May 31, 2014, 2:07 GMT

    Think Praveen Kumar richly deserves some mention to what he brought to the team. His in-Out swingers were a treat to watch after missing him from the longer formats in Indian colors.

  • Cpt.Meanster on May 30, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    I think the time has come for Mumbai to throw out Kieron Pollard who has been useless for the past couple of seasons for them. Add to that, their middle order is a weak one to say the least. The biggest mistake was obviously to not retain Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik. But they need to find a couple of Indian domestic players for the Champions League. Otherwise, too much is left for Hussey, Anderson, Rohit and Pollard to do. You can't expect Simmons to give you flying starts every game. The bowling is okay but can be better. They need 1 good fast bowler, preferably an Indian and also an extra spinner to aid Harbhajan and Ojha. I can't seem to improve any more and I expect them to perform the same way next season as well.

  • niazbhi on May 30, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    MI is in a great shape. They have almost all the weapons. They need to bring a couple of indian spinners instead of Ohja and play Bumrah, PK, Harbhajan, Malinga. Their batting is fairly good. They can change Anderson or Pollard for another foreign batman, it would not change much. Its hard to pick between Hussey, Maxwell, Pollard, Smith, Hales, Faf, Miller, ABD, JP, Perara.. so many great international players. There are at least 15 or 20 great batsmen.

  • SpaMaster on May 30, 2014, 14:54 GMT

    Oh please, this "defending" of title is overrated these days. Nobody is really defending titles. Every year it is a new tournament. Teams are completely revamped. Mumbai were current champions, but defending? No, neither were Rajasthan, Chennai, Deccan and Kolkata in the past. Next is these evaluation of players picked from tournament. This is a sport. Everything is not guaranteed at the top. You are not guaranteed the output of players when they were picked. If that were the case, everybody would have gone for Maxwell and Uthappa. Dinesh Karthik and Yuvraj would not have commanded so much money. What were Maxwell and Uthappa doing in the earlier seasons? This is sport. Lot of unknowns are there. Players develop. There is a certain luck/uncertainty factor involved. Sure, Punjab did well (BTW they lost the qualifier, isn't it) and let's congratulate them. But to say that they were the best predictors of future is not right..

  • on May 30, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    MI should change their strategy a bit next year.the 1st thing that they cant afford is playing both Pollard & Anderson in the same team.both r matchwinners at their own day bt otherwise extremely inconsistent too.1 such player is enough.2nd abroad space is reserved to Malinga whenever he is available.since malinga is there they dnt need 3 othr fastie,release one for accumulating Simmons.and for thr 4th spot they need a batsman who can bowl good spin balls who can hit the ball well.I prefer another careebian Samuels for that slot(hussey may retire so they can sign a new player).so the 1st team should be : Simmons, Tare,Rohith,Samuels,Pollard/Corry,Rayudu,Harbhajan,Zaheer/Pk,Malinga,Ojha,Bumrah

  • ShivakumarAiyar on May 30, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Fairly good analysis by A Muthu

  • on May 30, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    discharge hussey and ojha will get extra 10crs in next auction. try to buy hales of eng / tamim fr banglasesh. look out option of oza frm domastic sack. and also 1 middle order batsman

  • on May 30, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    K11P attacked from start hence finished top of table

    Mumbai consumed overs by mediocres in bowling & batting & left finest bowlers & batters with too few overs in the end...............It's like u play bradman or Sachin as 7 & expect them to win u games??

  • Siva_Bala75 on May 30, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Ankit Sharma- all OK. Murali Karthik and nadeem below par. What about Ojha? Ojha is just not suited for T20. Period.

  • Chennai_Cricket on May 30, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    Whenever S.gopal played to mumbai, Mumbai indians won the match but in the eliminator match he not selected in playing XI. This is not good selection. He is leg spin bowler, he is much better than ojha in t20 format.

  • on May 30, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    Rohit Sharma's wants every other player to perform while he watches. The shot he got out shows lack of responsibility so he needs to withdraw himself from captaincy. Munaf Patel was not retained by MI when they knew Malinga will have to go. Mike Hussey should not play for MI anymore. What was Rohit Sharma and Pollard thinking before going into this match against CSK? Its my day ! I will be the hero like Pathan and Anderson. All the hard work of Anderson and Rayudu went useless to get into the last 4.

  • cnksnk on May 30, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    MI has been a team which has always chased good names rather than those who would be effective. A back end team comprising of Sachin, KUmble, Robin singh ( all of whom should have advised on better quality Indian talent) and John Wright, Johnty should have been able to ensure better team selection. Retaining people like Rayudu just because Sachin felt he was a good player is very poor. He could have been released and rebid. The number of players who were released by Mumbai and who have performed well for other teams is mind boggling. Either MI did not know how to use the players or did not know how to use them. Forget internationals like D Smith, even players like Chahal were not used last year and played very well this year for other teams. Over all very poor thought process, poor over all team selection, poor captaincy, poor batting order ( atleast in the initial matches. Just goes to show that money can buy talent but not performance.

  • ladycricfan on May 30, 2014, 1:02 GMT

    Grand auction happens every three years. Next year auction will be for any players released by the franchises and other new players. Franchises can release any player they don't need and keep any number of players who are in the current squad. CSK will not release any players who are performing well this year. They might even try to retain david Hussey like RCB did with Gayle who was an injury replacement.

  • Ms.Cricket on May 30, 2014, 0:57 GMT

    Mumbai Indians seem to buy players based on one or two performances - last year they paid a million dollars for Glenn Maxwell after his 18 ball 50 and this year they bought Corey Anderson. Pollard is too inconsistent for West Indies and Mumbai Indians. - he is not in the same class as Dwayne Bravo.

  • on May 29, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    I'm biased as a Kiwi but Corey Anderson will get better. He's fairly new to the scene and if anything they paid too much for him this season. Probably next season his price tag will be validated. He was new to the NZ scene and has had little experience in the subcontinent's conditions.

    Coming from NZ, it's much different to bat and bowl there, especially if you are a seamer. He will get better.

  • on May 29, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    ojha was very poor... PK was surprisingly good despite having little practice... what they need is a good Indian batsman so that they can replace pollard/Anderson with a foreign bowler.. de Lange is worth persisting with - he has pace and bounce... badri will be a good buy foe next year

  • on May 29, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    What Mumbai lacked was a good proper genuine pace bowler.Entire season they were unsure about their bowling except for Mallinga.They had only 4 bowler at all times and expected the likes of Anderson Pollard to bowl 4 overs or more in each game.Unless you have 5 genuine bowlers and allrounders you will have difficult times.Ohja who was a regular was just filling the playing eleven and donating runs to opposition Piyush Chawla who many of us make fun of was much better than ohja.Mumbai either need to find the 5 th bowler for the rest season else will be hard to survive

  • Ghilli_da on May 29, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    MI is out of tournament due to lack of 5th bowler. whenever they play with 5th they won the match. last year they defended 3 times when score was less than 150 but this they were not defend even 173. Another reason they are giving too much important to pollard. He never won the match for MI this year. Then they should trust the best players like hussey, corey. Corey anderson is just 23 so this is good learning for him. MI should retain him; should not leave hom like maxwell. Next IPL/CL, they should play with hussey, simmons, corey & malinga and play 5 bowlers.. if possible, try get to get the old players Maxwell/DK/Johnson/Smith either in transfer window or in auction

  • on May 29, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    @tanuj..its really funny from you..mate csk were not even in the race to bag correy when he was a costly diamond..so do you think that they will ready to buy him?that too by replacing Smith, their best player of the season? i dont think CSK think tank will do such foolishness, just like MI did by using RTM for Ojha instead of Dwayne Smith

  • StuddSundar on May 29, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    These days Cricket is not just a game of bat and ball played on the field. There are off-field strategies and particularly in the team auction. This time around MI got it wrong completely. This is a team which lacks variety (with the exception of Malinga). It is extremely unfortunate that despite having a heavy weight think-tank their team selection went berserk. Mr. Ambani should realize that money cannot buy everything. The only way out now is to scrap the existing think-tank and allow Rohit and probably a younger coach to deal with their issues with a totally clear and fresh mind. Good luck MI for IPL 8.

  • xylo on May 29, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    MI will do well to get rid of old baggage i.e. cricketer of the generation from the so-called think-tank. If you want a think-tank, have players who had good record as captains, not players who had records. Players like Lara, Hayden and Tendulkar will not do well as think-tanks. On the other hand, players like Dravid, Kumble, Fleming can have a positive impact. And then, there is the funny issue of selection - picking up the sensation of the season.

  • on May 29, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    although losing all 5 matches in UAE they did well by winning 7 matches out of 9 matches played in India including one of the most memorable chases in recent times against RR. but to be fair and square they did miss sachin tendulkar at the top of the order and micheal hussey not performing in his merits. lack of contribution from the middle order including rohit and pollard looked out of form this year. except malinga no other put any kind of pressure on the opposition. ojha and harbhajan seemed far less what they were capable of. other members were average contributors to the teams success. for me simmons and anderson would be the shinning stars of mumbai this season.

  • on May 29, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    Josh hazlewood and sushant were way better than aditya tare and corey anderson who were only one day stars . if hazlewood was playing even de lange would have done better than corey Anderson and pollard.Hazelwood was a great death bowler had been a part of victorious campaign of sydney sixers in bbl and clt20.he was in rea d hot form but mi did not use him.Mi still had a chance to prove in clt20. for fan sake don't take corey his batting is sometimes effective but bowling is the major concern but a terrific fielder he should have been playing as substitute in clt20. I think last year they won because of including two bowler thats why they won ipl and clt20.Next season do anything to try to get Dwayne smith by giving them corey anderson.

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  • on May 29, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    Josh hazlewood and sushant were way better than aditya tare and corey anderson who were only one day stars . if hazlewood was playing even de lange would have done better than corey Anderson and pollard.Hazelwood was a great death bowler had been a part of victorious campaign of sydney sixers in bbl and clt20.he was in rea d hot form but mi did not use him.Mi still had a chance to prove in clt20. for fan sake don't take corey his batting is sometimes effective but bowling is the major concern but a terrific fielder he should have been playing as substitute in clt20. I think last year they won because of including two bowler thats why they won ipl and clt20.Next season do anything to try to get Dwayne smith by giving them corey anderson.

  • on May 29, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    although losing all 5 matches in UAE they did well by winning 7 matches out of 9 matches played in India including one of the most memorable chases in recent times against RR. but to be fair and square they did miss sachin tendulkar at the top of the order and micheal hussey not performing in his merits. lack of contribution from the middle order including rohit and pollard looked out of form this year. except malinga no other put any kind of pressure on the opposition. ojha and harbhajan seemed far less what they were capable of. other members were average contributors to the teams success. for me simmons and anderson would be the shinning stars of mumbai this season.

  • xylo on May 29, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    MI will do well to get rid of old baggage i.e. cricketer of the generation from the so-called think-tank. If you want a think-tank, have players who had good record as captains, not players who had records. Players like Lara, Hayden and Tendulkar will not do well as think-tanks. On the other hand, players like Dravid, Kumble, Fleming can have a positive impact. And then, there is the funny issue of selection - picking up the sensation of the season.

  • StuddSundar on May 29, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    These days Cricket is not just a game of bat and ball played on the field. There are off-field strategies and particularly in the team auction. This time around MI got it wrong completely. This is a team which lacks variety (with the exception of Malinga). It is extremely unfortunate that despite having a heavy weight think-tank their team selection went berserk. Mr. Ambani should realize that money cannot buy everything. The only way out now is to scrap the existing think-tank and allow Rohit and probably a younger coach to deal with their issues with a totally clear and fresh mind. Good luck MI for IPL 8.

  • on May 29, 2014, 18:12 GMT

    @tanuj..its really funny from you..mate csk were not even in the race to bag correy when he was a costly diamond..so do you think that they will ready to buy him?that too by replacing Smith, their best player of the season? i dont think CSK think tank will do such foolishness, just like MI did by using RTM for Ojha instead of Dwayne Smith

  • Ghilli_da on May 29, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    MI is out of tournament due to lack of 5th bowler. whenever they play with 5th they won the match. last year they defended 3 times when score was less than 150 but this they were not defend even 173. Another reason they are giving too much important to pollard. He never won the match for MI this year. Then they should trust the best players like hussey, corey. Corey anderson is just 23 so this is good learning for him. MI should retain him; should not leave hom like maxwell. Next IPL/CL, they should play with hussey, simmons, corey & malinga and play 5 bowlers.. if possible, try get to get the old players Maxwell/DK/Johnson/Smith either in transfer window or in auction

  • on May 29, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    What Mumbai lacked was a good proper genuine pace bowler.Entire season they were unsure about their bowling except for Mallinga.They had only 4 bowler at all times and expected the likes of Anderson Pollard to bowl 4 overs or more in each game.Unless you have 5 genuine bowlers and allrounders you will have difficult times.Ohja who was a regular was just filling the playing eleven and donating runs to opposition Piyush Chawla who many of us make fun of was much better than ohja.Mumbai either need to find the 5 th bowler for the rest season else will be hard to survive

  • on May 29, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    ojha was very poor... PK was surprisingly good despite having little practice... what they need is a good Indian batsman so that they can replace pollard/Anderson with a foreign bowler.. de Lange is worth persisting with - he has pace and bounce... badri will be a good buy foe next year

  • on May 29, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    I'm biased as a Kiwi but Corey Anderson will get better. He's fairly new to the scene and if anything they paid too much for him this season. Probably next season his price tag will be validated. He was new to the NZ scene and has had little experience in the subcontinent's conditions.

    Coming from NZ, it's much different to bat and bowl there, especially if you are a seamer. He will get better.

  • Ms.Cricket on May 30, 2014, 0:57 GMT

    Mumbai Indians seem to buy players based on one or two performances - last year they paid a million dollars for Glenn Maxwell after his 18 ball 50 and this year they bought Corey Anderson. Pollard is too inconsistent for West Indies and Mumbai Indians. - he is not in the same class as Dwayne Bravo.