Mumbai Indians (MI) is the most successful franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Rohit Sharma-led team has won as many as five IPL titles, which is the most by any side in the history of the tournament.
One of the biggest reason behind MI’s consistent performance over the years in IPL is the trust shown by the franchise in their core-group members. They have performed on crucial occasions and made MI the team in the lucrative league.
For the upcoming season, MI have bought seven players, consist of four overseas and three domestic players. The Mumbai-based franchise won the previous two editions and will be eyeing a third consecutive triumph in IPL 2021.
The fourteenth season of the lucrative league starts on April 9, with MI facing Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the tournament opener. Before MI begin the IPL 2021 journey, let’s have a look at their ideal playing XI for the forthcoming season.
Openers: Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma
MI’s opening pair in the previous season was Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma, and both performed relatively well in IPL 2020. It is expected that MI would stick to the same duo as the left and right-hand combination make them even more deadly.
De Kock scored 503 runs from 16 matches in IPL 2020 with four half-centuries. On the other hand, Rohit amassed 332 runs from 12 games at a strike-rate of 127.69, including three fifties.
Middle-order: Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav
Both Ishan Kishan and Surya Kumar Yadav have been the constant performers for Mumbai in IPL. Ishan was the highest run-scorer for his side in IPL 2020. He accumulated 516 runs from 14 games at an impressive average of 57, with 99 being his best.
Similarly, Surya was also the top-performer for his team. He ended IPL 2020 as the seventh-highest run-getter with 480 runs from 16 matches. Ahead of the IPL 2021, both the players have also made their impressive international T20I debut which will further boost their confidence before stepping out to play in MI jersey.
All-rounders: Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya
Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya had a fruitful season last year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pollard managed to score 268 runs from 16 matches at a strike-rate of 191, while Krunal scored 109 in 16 games at a strike-rate of 118.
However, both the players will be needed to up the ante concerning their bowling in IPL 2021. In the last season, Pollard only managed to take four wickets, whereas Krunal claimed six scalps.
Finisher: Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya did bowl for India in the T20I series against England, however, he refrained from bowling consistently in the recently concluded ODI series, which indicates that his main focus is the upcoming T20 World Cup. This means that he might not contribute with the bowl in IPL 2021, hence, his role in MI would be of a finisher.
In the previous season, Hardik had a similar position as the numbers clearly fall in his favour. The right-handed batsman had scored 281 runs from 14 matches at a brilliant strike-rate of close to 179. Hardik had also smashed 25 sixes in IPL 2020, which was the third-highest after Kishan (30) and Sanju Samson (26).
Bowlers: Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar
MI’s bowling has been quite remarkable over the years, and that’s one of the major reasons this franchise has won maximum IPL titles. In the previous season, MI were without the services of their all-time great Lasith Malinga. But it didn’t look like they missed the absence of the ace Sri Lankan great as the rest of the bowling unit did wonders, and MI became a champion.
Like the last time, there will be no Malinga as the veteran bowler had taken retirement, but the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult will add fire to the bowling unit. Both Bumrah (27) and Boult (25) finished IPL 2020 as second and third-highest wicket-takers, respectively. For the IPL 2021, Nathan Coulter-Nile will be the third seamer for MI.
Rahul Chahar will come in as a specialist spinner. He was the third-highest wicket-taker for Mumbai in IPL 2020. Chahar picked up 15 scalps from 15 matches, with 2/18 being his best.
Here is MI’s ideal playing XI:
- Quinton de Kock – Matches: 66; Runs: 1959; Strike-rate: 133.53; 100’s: 1; 50’s: 14
- Rohit Sharma – Matches: 200; Runs: 5230; Strike-rate: 130.61; 100’s:1; 50’s: 39
- Ishan Kishan – Matches: 51; Runs: 1211; Strike-rate: 136.83; 50’s: 7
- Surya Kumar Yadav – Matches: 101; Runs: 2024; Strike-rate: 134.57; 50’s: 11
- Kieron Pollard – Matches: 164; Runs: 3023; Strike-rate: 149.87; 50’s: 15; Wickets: 60; Economy: 8.87
- Krunal Pandya – Matches: 71; Runs: 1000; Strike-rate: 142.45; 50’s: 1; Wickets: 46; Economy: 7.26
- Hardik Pandya – Matches: 80; Runs: 1349; 50’s: 4, Strike-rate: 159.26
- Trent Boult – Matches: 48; Wickets: 63; Best: 4/18; Economy: 8.53
- Nathan Coulter-Nile – Matches: 33; Wickets: 41; Best: 4/20; Economy: 7.71
- Rahul Chahar – Matches: 31; Wickets: 30; Best: 3/19; Economy: 7.46
- Jasprit Bumrah – Matches: 92; Wickets: 109; Best: 4/14; Economy: 7.41
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