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IPL 2023: A mixed bag for five-time champions Mumbai Indians

IPL 2023: A mixed bag for five-time champions Mumbai Indians. How did Mumbai Indians fare in IPL 2023? Mumbai Indians lost to Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2, IPL 2023.

IPL 2023: Mumbai Indians lost to Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023 Qualifier 2 | Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
MI lost to Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023 Qualifier 2 (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

As per the script, Mumbai Indians started poorly once again in IPL 2023, but gained momentum at the business end of the tournament to book a play-off berth, with some help from table-toppers Gujarat Titans. But eventually, it was Gujarat who knocked them out of the tournament.


Mumbai lost the first two matches before winning their first match. They won just 3 matches out of the first seven games and were languishing at the bottom of the points table at the halfway mark, before winning 5 games out of the last 7 to book a play-off berth.



Let’s see what worked for them, and what didn’t, and what they should work on for the next season.


What worked for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2023?

IPL 2023, DC vs MI, Top Performances_ Rohit Sharma scores 44-ball 65 against SRH _Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Rohit had another substandard season with the bat (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Solid batting performance

After a false start in the first half of the tournament, Mumbai batting showed their firepower, chasing down four totals of above 200 – the most in any IPL tournament. The forefront of this show was led by Suryakumar Yadav, foreign imports such as Cameron Green and Tim David, and a few youngsters such as Tilak Varma. However, Mumbai openers were inconsistent, with Rohit Sharma having a below-par show once again, and Kishan had fewer impact innings.


Openers flattered to deceive


Rohit Sharma’s performance in last five IPL seasons

IPL Year

Matches

Runs

Average

Strike Rate

50s/100s

2023

16

332

20.75

132.8

2/0

2022

14

268

19.14

120.18

0/0

2021

13

381

29.30

127.42

1/0

2020

12

332

27.66

127.69

3/0

2019

15

405

28.92

133.02

2/0

These are poor returns for an opener who is known for destroying any bowling attack on his day. His poor returns and strike rate in IPL 2023 added pressure to the middle order to not only build the innings, but at a good strike rate. In fact, Rohit Sharma has been producing below-par performances in IPL for the last few seasons. The last time he had an aggregate of 400+ runs in an IPL season was in 2019.


These figures do not justify a talent such as Rohit Sharma who has great returns as an opener in international cricket across formats. His poor returns in IPL have not helped the team, and his opening partnership with Ishan Kishan has been at best inconsistent.


Ishan Kishan & SKY’s performance in IPL 2023

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

Strike Rate

50s/100s

Ishan Kishan

16

454

30.27

142.77

3/0

Suryakumar

16

605

43.21

181.33

5/1

Ishan Kishan made over 400 runs this IPL season, but his struggles at the top have been apparent. He struggled to force the pace most of the time. He didn’t have any impact innings that turned the match on its head. He and Rohit didn’t really set the stage on fire. But individually, Kishan fared slightly better than his opening partner Rohit.


IPL 2023, MI vs GT, Top Performances_ Suryakumar Yadav's 103 off 49 helps MI beat GT; MI move to 3rd place in table _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Suryakumar was the highest run scorer for MI (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Suryakumar Yadav entered IPL 2023 with a series of poor performances. He was out for golden ducks three straight times in the ODI series against Australia. He was out for a golden duck again in his third IPL 2023 innings. But he turned things around with a cameo of 43 against KKR in his fourth IPL innings and didn’t look back. He ended up as the highest run-getter for MI in IPL 2023 and was instrumental in helping his team chase down 200-plus targets.


Young batters prove their mettle

The find of the season for Mumbai was young batter Nehal Wadhera, 22, who played a few mature knocks in IPL 2023. In the match against CSK in Chennai, Wadhera scored 64 in the team’s total of 139/8. In the next match, he finished off a chase of 200 against RCB with a knock of 52*.


Meanwhile, another youngster Tilak Varma, 20, showed his last season’s performance was not a flash in the pan. He played a few exceptional innings that belied his age. In Mumbai’s opening match, Varma cracked 84 not out to anchor the innings to 171/7. The two youngsters are easily the future not only for Mumbai but Indian cricket as well.


IPL 2023_ Tilak Varma scored 397 runs from 14 games in IPL 2022 for Mumbai Indians _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©TilakV9_Twitter)
Tilak scored 343 runs from 11 games in IPL 2023 (Images: ©TilakV9/Twitter)

Wadhera & Varma’s performance in IPL 2023

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

Strike Rate

50s/100s

Nehal Wadhera

14

241

26.78

145.18

2/0

Tilak Varma

11

343

42.88

164.11

1/0


Foreign imports carry the team through

Foreign batters such as Cameron Green and Tim David played a big role in helping MI to enter the playoffs. Green scored a crucial 100* against SRH in Mumbai’s last league match to keep them in the race for the playoffs. Similarly, David played a few cameos at the death to finish off a few close games. His best knock was 45* against RR to help MI chase down 213 as he slammed three straight sixes in the last over to finish off the chase.

IPL 2023, SRH vs MI, Top Performances_ Cameron Green's all-round show (64, 1-29) helps MI beat SRH _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Cameron Green scored 452 runs from 16 games (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Cameron Green & Tim David’s performance in IPL 2023

Player

Matches

Runs

Average

Strike Rate

50s/100s

Cameron Green

16

452

50.22

160.28

2/1

Tim David

16

231

25.67

158.22

0/0


What didn’t work for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2023?

Mumbai’s bowling turned out to be their biggest bane except for a few positives that emerged in the form of Akash Madhwal and Piyush Chawla. Mumbai struggled to replace injured Jasprit Bumrah, while Jofra Archer flattered to deceive before bowing out of the tournament due to injury. But youngsters such as Madhwal stepped up to rescue Mumbai. Meanwhile, veteran spinner Piyush Chawal proved age is just a number, turning up as the highest wicket-taker for Mumbai this season with 22 wickets.


Mumbai conceded far too many runs

Mumbai conceded 200-plus as many as 6 times in 16 games. It just shows how inadequate Mumbai were in containing the opposition. The failure of Mumbai’s bowling was made up by their batting as they chased down four 200-plus scores. But their bowling was exposed even by lesser teams such as PBKS who cracked 214/3 against Mumbai.

IPL 2023, MI vs RCB, Top Performances_ Jason Behrendorff took 3-36 against RCB; MI beat RCB _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Behrendorff took 14 wickets from 12 games (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Death over woes

In the absence of Bumrah, Mumbai lacked a death-over specialist who could stop the opposition from piling up runs in the death overs. In the match against PBKS at Wankhede, Mumbai conceded 39 runs in the last 12 balls to allow the opposition to score 214/3. It made the difference in the end as Mumbai lost by 13 runs. In the crucial Qualifier 2, Mumbai conceded 41 runs in the last 19 balls to eventually lose the game there. Chris Jordan was especially guilty of leaking runs in the death overs. He went for an economy of 10.77 while picking 3 wickets in 6 games – his worst performance in any IPL season.


Foreign recruits inconsistent

Jofra Archer’s replacement Jordan was below-par and conceded far too many runs in the death overs. He took 3 wickets in 6 games. Jason Behrendorff lacked support at the other end. He picked up 14 wickets in 12 games.


Inexperienced young spinners

Mumbai spinners Hrithik Shokeen and Kumar Kartikeya were just too inexperienced to make a mark. Kartikeya bagged 5 wickets in 8 games, while Shokeen took 3 wickets in 8 games. However, this season would have been a good learning experience for them, and they would turn up as better bowlers in the next season.


IPL 2023, MI vs LSG, Eliminator, Top Performances_ Akash Madhwal's 5 wicket haul (5-5) helped MI beat LSG _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Akash Madhwal took 14 wickets from 8 games (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Positives for MI in IPL 2023

Akash Madhwal showed he is a bowler who can be banked upon as he turned up a star performance in the Eliminator bagging 5/5 – the joint best in IPL play-offs. Madhwal was a net bowler for RCB in the 2021 season before being drafted into the Mumbai squad for the 2022 season. But he got his opportunity in the 2023 season and made it count. He took 14 wickets in 8 matches in IPL 2023, and will definitely be in the starting XI for the next season.


Mumbai’s spin hopes rested on Piyush Chawla as they could not land other better spin options. Chawla, however, tried his best and emerged as the highest wicket-taker for Mumbai this season with 22 wickets. But expecting an ageing Chawla, 34, to repeat the performance next season would be too much of an ask.


The way ahead for Mumbai

Mumbai have some work to do for the next season. Their bowling attack is still a work in progress. They need the right replacement for each player. Madhwal has been the find for Mumbai this season, but Mumbai needs backups if Bumrah or Archer are still out with injuries for next season. Similarly, in the spin department, they need another quality spinner as a backup for Chawla.


Also, with Rohit not up to mark as the opener in IPL, with four straight seasons of less than 400 runs, Mumbai can look to assign another role for him in the middle-order and look for other suitable replacements at the top. Also, Mumbai could look beyond Rohit as skipper, and groom possibly SKY as the future captain. It’s too early now, but Mumbai definitely have a lot to do if they want to lift another title next season.


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