Mumbai Indians (MI) are coming off a great season having lifted their fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title. The team performed exceptionally well on all fronts as they went on to rewrite record books with a fifth title. While everything went smooth for them, they lacked a quality third seamer option to support the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
On similar lines, their spin department lacked depth. Going into the new season, the Indians’ made sure that they covered all their bases. While they released seven players going into the auction, they came with some economical buys in the recently concluded mini-auction. Pacers Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile and veteran Piyush Chawla were the big buys of the defending champions.
The buys seem to have plugged in all the holes and filled in the gaps in the side. With the Indians’ looking to make it three in a row, we predict their playing XI for the upcoming season.
Openers: Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma
Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was in scintillating form last season. And there is no doubt that the Indians’ will stick with him to get a power-packed start. With more than 500 runs in IPL 2020 and a strike rate of 140, de Cock makes the perfect pair with captain Rohit Sharma. Although the skipper was not in his best shape last time around, he will like to cash in with a brand new season coming up.
As of back up, the side boasts of some great players in Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn and Aditya Tare. While Kishan and Tare can be accommodated in the middle order too, Lynn is a pure opener. The Aussie has proved his might time and time again in the league. And so the Indians have a solid backup in him if injury strikes the first-choice openers.
Middle Order: Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya
The MI is likely to feature an all-Indian middle-order. The defending champions have some big names in Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya in the middle. The trio is renowned for its flamboyant strokes. And MI will be expecting some big knocks from them like the last season. The middle order of the Indians was a big reason behind their successful run in IPL 2020.
Barring the big names, MI has some homegrown talents in Saurabh Tiwary, Anmolpreet Singh and Aditya Tare to fill in. Their hitting prowess is battle-proven in the domestic circuit. Apart from them, Kiwi all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, MI’s newest recruit, can also make it count in the middle order.
All rounder: Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard
MI doesn’t have much depth when it comes to all-rounders. But they do have quality on their side. Without a spec of doubt, the pair of KPs, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard will fill in as all-rounder for the defending champions. The pair has proven time and time again what they can do with the bat and ball. And MI will be looking forward to some fireworks from the experienced duo.
As mentioned earlier, there isn’t much depth in the Indians’ lineup. Neesham is the only capped all-rounder in the side barring the duo. MI can turn to turn to new recruits Marco Jansen and Arjun Tendulkar. The young duo has impressed with their all-round abilities earlier and will be rearing to make a mark in the league.
Bowlers: Rahul Chahar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult
MI has their new-ball bowling pair sorted in Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. As expected, the duo wreaked havoc last season and will be looking to repeat their heroics this time around too. Experienced Aussie Nathan Coulter-Nile is expected to be the third pacer in the side. As for back-ups, the likes of Adam Milne, Dhawal Kulkarni and Neesham can step-up in the time of need.
In the spin department, legspinner Rahul Chahar will be the lone specialist spinner in the side. He was impressive early on last season but failed to keep up as the tournament went ahead. Unlike last season, the Indians have the services of veteran Piyush Chawla who is a good enough backup for the leggie. Jayant Yadav and Anukul Roy are great options if the side decides to rely on finger-spinners.
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