<
>

Mumbai Indians: A bright start for a change, match-winners at every step

Jasprit Bumrah is pumped up BCCI

Where did they finish

They topped the table by winning nine of the 14 league matches and then lifted the trophy by beating Chennai Super Kings for the fourth time - in four meetings - this IPL.

What went right?

Unlike the last few seasons, Mumbai Indians did not arrive late to the party and started winning their matches from the start of the piece. That was down to them not relying only on their top players, most of whom also clicked this season, unlike in 2018.

They were clear with their plans from the beginning - Rohit Sharma decided to open throughout, they were not afraid to bat first at times against the trend and did it even in the final, they dropped Yuvraj Singh when he didn't click, and they didn't believe in constant chopping and changing - which added stability to their line-up.

Mumbai have always had depth in their squad and this time nearly all their big names stepped up too. Quinton de Kock joined them before this season and led the run charts, Alzarri Joseph landed midway through the tournament and broke records with his 6 for 12, Rahul Chahar replaced Mayank Markande and played the dual role of taking wickets and stopping the flow of runs, especially on the big stage. Even if oppositions managed to curtail Rohit or were able to make plans for Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah, the other Mumbai players put their hand up to emerge champions once again.

What went wrong?

At times, it felt like Rohit's form was a concern but de Kock's hitting made up for it, as we saw in the Powerplay in the final too. The issue was between their top and lower order - Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya. When Mumbai lost early wickets, Kishan and Krunal found it tough to carry the momentum before Hardik and Pollard could take over. A similar story unfolded in the final when Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, who otherwise had a decent season as the anchor, couldn't capitalise on the opening stand and Mumbai nearly paid the price with an under-par score.

Key numbers

  • Before the final, Mumbai were the second-best team while batting in the last five overs this IPL, with a scoring rate of 11 per over, only behind Kolkata Knight Riders' 11.90.

  • Their 68 catches taken out of 82 chances earned, with a success rate of 82.90%, was only behind Kings XI Punjab's 84.50% (stat from before the final).

  • De Kock and Rohit were the second-most prolific opening pair of the season, with a tally of 565 runs, behind the Sunrisers Hyderabad pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow (791 runs).

  • Hardik had the second-best batting strike rate in the overs 19 and 20 - 266.07 - after Andre Russell's 285.71. Pollard was third, striking at 256.75 (minimum 30 balls faced).

  • Bumrah and Lasith Malinga were the second-best and joint-third respectively while taking wickets between overs 17 and 20. After Kagiso Rabada's 17, Bumrah was next with 13, and Malinga level with Mohammed Shami's 11.

Star performers

Hardik Pandya's cameos in the death overs gave him a tournament strike rate of 191.42, only behind Russell again, that gave Mumbai the edge time and again. Though expensive with the ball, he did take 14 wickets, the third-highest for his team this season.

The real star of their campaign was their bowling unit, led by Bumrah and Malinga. Rahul Chahar emerged as their next big star with his legspin. Even though he didn't rely on the wrong'un like a lot of other wristspinners, he impressed with three-fors against Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals in the group stage, and then against Super Kings in two crunch games.

What needs immediate fix?

To not take the IPL final to the final ball, having done it in their last two title runs, and not drop catches in the final. That should do it.