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IPL 2021: Eying a “hat-trick” Mumbai Indians aim to continue dominance

On 9 April, Mumbai will be playing the season opener of IPL 2021, against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.

mumbai indians, MI
Source: IANS

The unmatched legacy and dominance achieved by five-time defending champions Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be put to test once again. This time, Rohit Sharma’s men will eye an unprecedented title hat-trick. Mumbai dominated the 2020 edition, which took place just six months ago, by some distance, winning 11 out of 16 games. This year, the squad is looking even stronger as the management added more versatility in their already settled bowling attack.

During the off-season, Mumbai offloaded their foreign pace quartet of Lasith Malinga (who announced retirement), Mitchell McClenaghan, James Pattinson, and Nathan Coulter-Nile. They then repurchased Coulter-Nile for INR 5 crores in the auctions. In all probability, Coulter-Nile is likely to feature as the third seamer in the starting XI. 

They further strengthened their overseas seam attack by securing the services of New Zealand’s Adam Milne and South African left-arm pace-bowling all-rounder Marco Jansen, presumably as a backup for Trent Boult and a future investment for the future. They also opted for Jimmy Neesham, a like-for-like cover for an aging Kieron Pollard.

They have also added uncapped all-rounders Yudhvir Charak and Arjun Tendulkar, but they are unlikely to play any roles in the upcoming season.

Mumbai’s most interesting purchase this season has to be Piyush Chawla. Chawla came into the scheme of things because of the average bowling performances of Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya in UAE last season. He may be preferred ahead of Chahar in the starting XI, at least in their first few matches.

Mumbai also have several Indian cricketers who are in contention for a spot in India’s World Cup T20 set-up. Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Krunal will want to go the extra mile to impress the national selectors and break into the extended squad later this year. Eyes will be on the bowling forms of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, none of whom has bowled enough in the recent past.

Bumrah and Boult will lead the lethal fast-bowling attack alongside the new recruits. With no home game this season, Mumbai will certainly miss the pace and bounce of Wankhede. However, given how they had adjusted to the slow, low UAE pitches last year, their fans can expect the juggernaut to keep rolling.

However, Mumbai’s strength lies in their depth. They are not dependent on a handful of individual performances. Their batting line-up is so power-packed that at times the think-tank is spoilt for choices. Even an unfortunate mid-season injury or Covid-19 infection of any of their cricketers should not concern them much.

On 9 April, Mumbai will be playing the season opener of IPL 2021, against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai. Quinton de Kock will miss the match due to his international commitments in South Africa. Mumbai may use Kishan, both as wicketkeeper and Rohit’s opening partner. They also have backup opener Chris Lynn – who did not get a single game last season – to fill that vacant opening slot. Rest everything seems sorted for this team.

Mumbai Indians complete squad for IPL 2021:

Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aditya Tare (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Lynn, Mohsin Khan, Saurabh Tiwary, Trent Boult, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, James Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, Arjun Tendulkar

Sandipan Banerjee is a senior cricket journalist with experience stretching across more than a decade. Having founded a number of cricket information resources and prior experience of working in big-ticket events like ICC Cricket World Cup, IPL and ICC Champions’ Trophy; he joined the team at CricketNews.com in 2019 to provide strategic guidance and to assume a brand ambassador role as principal correspondent. Due to Sandipan’s commitment towards the game, it’s safe to assume that if India are involved in a Test, ODI or a T20I, he’ll be there covering the match!

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