Mumbai Indians look to continue the momentum
Having finally found the winning touch, Mumbai Indians will look to continue in the similar vein when they lock horns with beleaguered hosts Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game on Sunday.
Two-time champions Mumbai Indians were off to a horrible start this season, suffering three successive reverses before skipper Rohit Sharma came to the team’s rescue with a blazing 94 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The 46-run drubbing of RCB has raised the morale of the players, and Mumbai Indians are seeking a similar outing against Rajasthan Royals, at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium tomorrow.
Sharma was the reason behind the team breaking the run of losses and he is again going to be a key man for Mumbai Indians. West Indian Evin Lewis played his part with the bat, scoring 65, and then there are the likes of Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal.
That Pollard has recovered from an injury is definitely good news for MI.
Another positive development is Hardik’s 5-ball 17 the other night.
2010–2012 Rise as a strong team
At the 2010 players auction, Mumbai Indians bought Trinidadian all-rounder Kieron Pollard for $750,000 following a secret tiebreaker. After the auction, they signed up ten uncapped Indian players out whom seven were former ICL players. Former India cricketer Robin Singh was named as the head coach of the team as Pollock took up the role of bowling coach. Mumbai had to shift their home venue to Brabourne Stadium for the season since the Wankhede was undergoing renovation to host some matches of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Mumbai won seven of their first eight games to take the top spot in the points table. Their success was mainly due to the efforts of Tendulkar, Malinga, Harbhajan, Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary. They won three of the remaining six league games and finished with 20 points from 14 games at the top of the points table. They beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs in the semifinal, thanks to Pollard's all-around efforts (33* from 13 balls, and 3/17). At the final, they were defeated by the Chennai Super Kings by 22 runs. The Mumbai team management was criticized for the "strategic errors" during the final such as sending Abhishek Nayar and Harbhajan at batting positions 3 and 4 respectively while Duminy and Pollard were sent at 7 and 8. Mumbai skipper Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 618 runs at an average of 47.53 and strike rate of 132.6, won the Orange Cap for scoring most runs in the season. Mumbai qualified for the 2010 Champions League Twenty20 where they were eliminated in the group stage with two wins and two defeats in four matches.
In 2011, with the addition of two new teams to the IPL, the IPL Governing Council declared that each franchise could retain a maximum of four players of their 2010 squad, and the rest of the international players would be auctioned. Mumbai Indians retained Tendulkar, Harbhajan, Pollard, and Malinga for a sum of $4.5 million. This retention left the franchise with the power of spending $4.5 million at the auction where they purchased Indian batsman Rohit Sharma for $2 million, former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds for $850,000, and pacer Munaf Patel for $700,000. Mumbai won eight of their first ten league games following which they suffered a loss of form that led to three consecutive defeats and a last-ball win in their last league match. They finished third on the points table with 18 points from 14 games and qualified for the Eliminator. The Eliminator was played at the Wankhede where Mumbai faced the Kolkata Knight Riders. After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Mumbai restricted Kolkata to 147 in 20 overs and chased down the target for the loss of six wickets with four balls to spare. Munaf Patel won the Man of the Match for his bowling figures of 3/27. With this win, Mumbai qualified for the Qualifying final against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the winner of which would play the Super Kings in the final. Mumbai skipper Tendulkar won the toss once again and put their opposition into bat who set Mumbai a target of 186. Mumbai kept losing wickets at regular intervals from the start of their innings and could score only 142/8, falling short by 43 runs. The top two leading wicket-takers of the season were Mumbai Indians pacers Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel with 28 and 22 wickets respectively.
Mumbai qualified for the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 held in India. Before the start of the tournament, six first-choice Indian players in the Mumbai squad including Tendulkar, Sharma, and Patel were ruled out of the tournament due to injuries and two more Indian players were ruled out based on medical reports. This left their 14-member squad with only six Indian players, while the tournament allowed a maximum of four overseas players and minimum of seven local players in the playing eleven. An exception was made for the Mumbai Indians which permitted them to field five overseas players during the tournament. Harbhajan was named the stand-in captain in the absence of Tendulkar. Mumbai was placed in Group A alongside Chennai Super Kings, New South Wales Blues, Cape Cobras, and Trinidad & Tobago. Mumbai had two wins, one defeat and one no result in the group stage which gave them the second place on the group points table with five points. They qualified for the semifinal and Mumbai batsman Suryakumar Yadav returned to the squad after recovering from his injury. This led to the withdrawal of the concession given by the Champions League for the Mumbai Indians to field five overseas players. Mumbai faced Somerset County Cricket Club in the semifinal at Chennai. Batting first, Mumbai made 160/5 in 20 overs. Somerset's chase was dented by Malinga who picked four wickets for 20 (all bowled) to help Mumbai restrict Somerset to 150 and win the match by 10 runs. The final was also played in Chennai where Mumbai met Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mumbai batted first and managed only 139 in 20 overs. Bangalore started strongly in the run-chase putting 38 for the first wicket before Malinga broke the partnership. Harbhajan then picked up the key wickets of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli triggering a batting collapse and eventually Bangalore were bowled out for 108, giving Mumbai a 31-run victory and their first-ever title. Harbhajan was named the player of the match and Malinga won the man of the tournament award. Andrew Symonds retired from all forms of cricket in early 2012.
Before the start of the 2012 season, the Mumbai Indians traded Dinesh Karthik from Kings XI Punjab and Pragyan Ojha from the Deccan Chargers for undisclosed sums. At the auction, the franchise bought five players including R. P. Singh, Thisara Perera (both for $600,000) and Mitchell Johnson. Tendulkar stepped down from captaincy hours before the season's first game following which Harbhajan was appointed as the captain. In the first half of the league stage, Mumbai had four wins and four defeats, including three losses at home. Mumbai did not have a fixed opening combination, with Tendulkar missing out four matches due to an injury and other opening batsmen failing to show consistency. Johnson was ruled out of rest of the season in late-April with an injury and Dwayne Smith was named his replacement in the squad. Mumbai fared better in the second half of the league stage, winning six of their eight matches. They finished third on the points table with 20 points from 16 matches and qualified for the Eliminator against the fourth-placed Chennai Super Kings at Bangalore. Mumbai won the toss and put Chennai in to bat first. After losing two wickets inside the first two overs, Chennai managed to put up 187/5 in 20 overs mainly because of their captain MS Dhoni's unbeaten 20-ball 51. Mumbai's chase had started solidly with the score reading 47/0 in the fifth over, before they started losing wickets at regular intervals to end at 149/9 and lose the match by 38 runs. They gained direct qualification to the 2012 Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa, along with the three IPL teams that finished at the top that season. Mumbai, placed in Group B, were winless in the tournament with three defeats and one no result.