Mumbai Indians: IPL 2020 Preview

Mumbai Indians: IPL 2020 Preview
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The Defending Champions would like to make it 5 IPL victories in the last 8 seasons

“He’s done it! He has done it! Lasith Malinga, the hero! Mumbai Indians have done it again! Four-time champions of the Vivo IPL! Four victories over CSK this season!” This is what Ian Bishop had to say on-air as the defending champions clinched their fourth title in the most dramatic way possible. Vivo IPL 2019 witnessed a scintillating season for the Mumbai Indians. With even better changes made to the squad for the 2020 IPL season, we can all expect the Mumbai Paltan to defend its title. 

Heading into the 2020 IPL auction, the Mumbai Indians weren’t expected to make any changes. However, they released a total of nine players: Evin Lewis, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Beuran Hendricks, Ben Cutting, Yuvraj Singh, Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Pankaj Jaswal, and Alzarri Joseph. The MI Paltan needed a couple of genuine foreign pace bowlers and some reliable reserve players. To me, the most significant buy was that of Trent Boult. The Wankhede Stadium possesses red soil which enables the fast bowlers to get some movement off the pitch, allowing the ball to swing in the first 4-5 overs. Boult’s ability to move the ball early and provide early inroads may be the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle the Indians were looking for. The trio of Boult, Malinga, and Bumrah will likely lead the pace bowling attack in both the powerplay and at the death. It is plausible that Boult bowls 3 overs upfront, Malinga with a couple of overs, and Bumrah only one over. Through the middle overs, Bumrah will likely take the responsibility of providing a breakthrough. At the death, both Malinga and Bumrah will share the burden with two overs each. They have potent backups in Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan Coulter-Nile (bought at a whopping 8 crores), and Dhawal Kulkarni. Most might question the presence of four foreign pace bowlers. However, with such a strong Indian core, comprising of batsmen and all-rounders, the management is bound to stock up on its pace bowling department.  

The other substantial buy was that of Chris Lynn at base price. Although likely, Quinton De Kock will be preferred over Lynn, Lynn may have a significant role in this year’s IPL. The option of playing Lynn at the expense of Malinga or Boult may be done to add more firepower at the top of the order. In such a case either Dhawal Kulkarni or an Indian spinner like Anukul Roy or Jayant Yadav can be brought into the mix. The MI paltan further bolstered its squad with a backup to the aging Kieron Pollard in the form of hard-hitting Sherfane Rutherford. His recent stint with the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Hero Caribbean Premier League was a memorable one. He batted at number 6 and struck the ball at an astonishing strike rate of 140.47. 

Once again the Indian core – comprising of Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, and Jasprit Bumrah – remains instrumental to the success of this team. However, what every MI fan would be hoping for is a breakout season for the most successful captain in the history of the IPL. He is yet to have a season similar to what Virat Kohli had in 2016, and what David Warner literally has every year!! With two back to back World T20 cups in 2020 and 2021, Rohit will likely open the batting to get good batting practice before the big event. 

My Starting XI – 

Rohit Sharma(c), Quinton De Kock(wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Lasith Malinga, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.

Other serious contenders for the starting XI – 

Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni

My prediction – 

Overall, this MI unit looks the most robust group in the entire competition, and I will not be surprised if they finish in the top 3 in the points table.

Please feel free to post your opinions in the comments section. 

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