IPL 2023: Mumbai Indians headed for another disastrous season? Mumbai Indians haven't reached to playoffs in the last two seasons. Jasprit Bumrah & Jhye Richardson's absence make MI's bowling unit look weak.
Mumbai Indians (MI) led by their long-time skipper Rohit Sharma didn’t have the best of starts to their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign in the 2023 edition. In their opening contest against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday evening, the 5-time champions were clinically outclassed by the hosts by 8 wickets.
Mumbai Indians have become a pale shadow of themselves and that they have failed to reach playoffs in the last two seasons can be attributed to their team combination. But even then, one gets a feel that MI does possess a competitive side that can win games.
MI’s top order failing them big time; Tilak Varma only solace
When one takes a careful look at the tournament opener for Mumbai Indians, the lack of contribution from their star-studded batting order hurt them the most. Rohit Sharma didn’t have the best of games and struggled to get going in the opening game. He could make just a solitary run off 10 balls before edging one to the keeper.
In fact, Rohit’s form has been ordinary in the IPL for the past few seasons. Since 2017, the MI skipper has just scored just 11 half-centuries in 86 innings which is really a mediocre conversion rate especially from a player with such a reputation. His strike rate has also been on the lower side which is again a cause of worry. His opening partner, Ishan Kishan isn’t scoring big runs either; he could muster only 10 runs in his 13-ball stay at the crease against RCB in season opener.
Cameron Green making his IPL debut had a forgettable outing with the bat scoring just 5 runs and without questioning his immense potential as a cricketer, the all-rounder’s T20 career records isn’t all that encouraging. He has played only 22 T20 games scoring 250 runs, so the lack of experience at this level coupled with an expensive price tag may have overwhelmed the youngster a little bit on his maiden outing.
Likewise, Tim David also failed to make any significant impact to MI’s batting and like Green, he came into the tournament with runs under his belt. With 3464 runs in T20 cricket from 161 games at a strike rate of over 162, David was expected to carry the middle-order of Mumbai side in this IPL. But he could manage only 4 runs in the opening fixture for MI. Last but not the least, Mumbai’s go to batter Suryakumar Yadav seems low in confidence especially after his disastrous ODI series against Australia where he got out on the first ball thrice in as many games. The No.1 T20I batter had an uncomfortable 16-ball stay at the crease in which he scored only 15 runs against RCB.
The only solace came in the form of Tilak Varma, who made a scintillating 84 off just 46 balls to take the 5-time champs to a respectable score of 171. Without the left-hander’s impeccable knock, MI would have suffered a even more heavy defeat than this.
This makes one think that a side with a lot of batting potential should be contributing and scoring much more than they are and moreover it is not an observation from this game. They didn’t have anyone among top-10 run-getters in 2022 edition of IPL, and Ishan Kishan (at 14th with 418 runs) was the leading run-scorer. The next best was IPL debutant Tilak Varma who stood at 17th with 397 runs. Only 2 other MI batters scored over 200 runs in the last edition where they finished at the bottom of the points table.
Mumbai’s bowling woes
From the outset, one can clearly say that the Mumbai Indians’ bowling attack is not what it used to be. They once had the likes of world class overseas fast bowlers like Lasith Malinga, Trent Boult, Mitchell Johnson, McClenaghan among others and they got more than able support from bowlers such as Kieron Pollard, Pandya brothers, Rahul Chahar etc. This made them a complete bowling unit. The only constant from the MI squad of yesteryears in bowling is Jasprit Bumrah but the tragic story is that the ace pacer is out of this IPL due to a back injury.
As a result, MI’s bowling attack looked like that of amateurs. Only threatening option they had in their ranks was Jofra Archer, who is also coming back from bout of injuries. Piyush Chawla, the veteran, is their main spinner and the leggie is not even a regular in Indian domestic circuit nowadays. Jason Behrendorff has hardly looked threatening while spinner Hrithik Shokeen and pacer Arshad Khan have played only 9 and 1 T20 games, respectively. Going by the looks of things, Mumbai’s bowling in 2023 is set to follow a similar story from the last year.
Their economy rate in IPL 2022 was 8.57 which was the second-worst among 10 teams and in the death overs, it rose to 10.37. With an inexperienced bowling attack, there is fear that one might see the repeat of 2022 edition from the Mumbai Indians.
How can Mumbai turn things around?
Mumbai need their batting to put on big scores on a consistent basis and this should give their bowling attack the much-needed cushion to attack without fear. The top-5 should invariably fire in the coming games if they are to compete here with the rest of top teams.