Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad - what went wrong, who stood out, and more
Mumbai’s star-studded line-up, featuring the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya, first made a mark in 2010, when they finished runners-up. In the next two years, they strengthened their core by picking Rohit Sharma, Zaheer Khan and Kieron Pollard. Fast bowler Lasith Malinga proved his worth by winning the purple cap in the 2011 tournament and the Man-of-the-Series award in that year’s Champions League T20, which Mumbai won.
In 2013, Sharma became the captain and Jasprit Bumrah debuted. They won all their home games at the Wankhede, tied for points with table-toppers the Chennai Super Kings, and beat them to lift their maiden title, giving Tendulkar a fairy-tale end to his IPL career.
With Sharma, Bumrah, Malinga and Pollard providing a stable foundation, Mumbai always start among the favourites. They seemed to favour winning only in odd-numbered years before their 2020 title.
The four seasons from 2017 through 2020 were Mumbai’s best, when Sharma became arguably one of the best Indian T20 captains on the circuit. Once known as a team that left things too late to qualify, they topped the table and won three times in those four years, to become the most successful IPL team.
Mumbai didn’t impress in the first two seasons, especially when they finished seventh in 2009. More recently, it was said in 2016 and 2018 – when they failed to qualify for the playoffs – that they were too dependent on their core and failed to close out some nail-biters.
Tendulkar didn’t recover from a groin injury in time for the start of the tournament and was replaced as captain by Harbhajan Singh, who was then banned for slapping the Kings XI Punjab’s Sreesanth. Mumbai lost their first four matches, which had an impact on their failure to make the semis.
The tournament moved to South Africa for the season. Shaun Pollock retired as a player and became the franchise’s head coach. Malinga made his IPL debut, but the team relied too much on him and a few other big players, like Tendulkar and JP Duminy, and finished with five wins from 14 games.
The reliance on Tendulkar for runs continued, but it was the contributions from their bowlers that took Mumbai to the top of the points table. Malinga, Singh, Khan, and new recruit Pollard, took 62 wickets between them. Still, they couldn’t get past the Super Kings in the final.
Mumbai retained Tendulkar, Singh, Pollard and Malinga, and bought Sharma at the auction. Tendulkar scored his only T20 century, and Malinga (the purple cap holder) and Munaf Patel contributed 50 wickets, but they came up short against the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle in the qualifying final.
Tendulkar stepped down from the captaincy two days before the season opener, and later suffered an injured finger. Mumbai struggled to get a stable opening pair in his absence, and Mitchell Johnson's missing the season compounded their problems. Under Singh, they came undone against CSK in the eliminator, and finished third on the table.
Anil Kumble and John Wright took over coaching roles, and Ricky Ponting the captaincy. Bumrah made his debut. Ponting dropped himself mid-season, but under the leadership of Sharma, their top scorer that season, Mumbai lifted the title thanks to Pollard’s blitzkrieg in the final. Tendulkar then announced his IPL retirement.
An inconsistent season that started with five straight losses in the first leg in the UAE. Mumbai were fifth on the table before the last league game, in which they chased down 190 in 14.4 overs against the Rajasthan Royals with a dramatic six from Aditya Tare. That allowed them to qualify for the playoffs, but they lost by seven wickets to the Super Kings in the eliminator.
Another poor start – four losses in a row – but this time with a different ending. Malinga, Lendl Simmons and Mitchell McClenaghan led the campaign to give Mumbai nine wins in their last ten matches of the season. A clinical win over the Super Kings in the final gave them their second title.
Mumbai bought high-profile players like Tim Southee and Jos Buttler, but they didn’t live up to billing. In an unimpressive season, they missed playoffs qualification for the first time since 2009, losing their last league game.
Mahela Jayawardene took over as coach. Hardik Pandya and Bumrah proved their worth with power-hitting and death bowling. Mumbai also registered their highest IPL total (223 vs Kings XI), and after ten wins in the league stage, they pulled off a last-ball win against Rising Pune Supergiant in the final.
Malinga joined the coaching staff as bowling mentor. Suryakumar Yadav, playing for Mumbai after six seasons, moved up to the opening spot and contributed over 500 runs. Legspinner Mayank Markande made a spectacular debut. But in the end, losing many close matches proved costly for Mumbai.
Sharma took the opening spot ahead of the 50-over World Cup and made over 400 runs. Quinton de Kock made 529. Alzarri Joseph took 6 for 12, then the best figures in the IPL. Bumrah and Malinga (who surprisingly returned as a player) took 35 wickets between them. Mumbai beat arch-rivals the Super Kings by one run to clinch a record fourth title.
Mumbai were by far the most dominant side of the season. Sharma sat out a few games with a hamstring injury, but Mumbai marched to their fifth title nevertheless. They lost only five games, including two ties. Highlights included the performances of uncapped batsmen Yadav and Ishan Kishan, and of Trent Boult with the new ball.
The franchise’s first icon player. Tendulkar adapted to the T20 format with his attacking game and was the leading scorer for Mumbai several times until he retired, scoring 2334 runs in the tournament in all, at an average of nearly 35.Lasith Malinga
Mumbai’s most important bowler and the IPL’s leading wicket-taker, with 170. Apart from being highly economical, especially in the death overs, Malinga has handed Mumbai many crucial wickets and turned decisive moments their way in big matches - most famously the last-ball wicket in the 2019 final.Rohit Sharma
Mumbai’s most valuable batsman after Tendulkar and inarguably their best captain, with a record five titles. His experience of opening for India 2013 onwards worked well for Mumbai, though he has batted in the middle order too. Their overall top run getter, his ability to score big helps Mumbai win matches when others anchor around him.Kieron Pollard
The team’s second-highest run getter and among their top wicket-takers, Pollard is at his best in big games, often winning matches single-handedly. He has frequently surprised oppositions with his belligerent batting in the middle order.Jasprit Bumrah
Bumrah quickly became a crucial bowler for the side with Malinga, his mentor, coaching him in the art of bowling accurate yorkers. Among Mumbai’s top wicket-takers, Bumrah has played a key role in the opening and death overs for Mumbai, particularly when defending modest totals.