Mumbai Indians (SPORTZPICS photo)
Mumbai Indians (SPORTZPICS photo)

IPL 13: Bowling a weak link for defending champs Mumbai Indians (Analysis)

By Vishesh Roy | Updated: Sep 11, 2020 16:18 IST

New Delhi [India], September 11 (ANI): With the Indian Premier League (IPL) just eight days away, teams have gone into the home stretch of preparations. And one thought on everyone's mind will be on how to take on defending champions Mumbai Indians.
Over the past few years, the Rohit Sharma-led side has become the team to beat with their solid line-up and impeccable consistency. Mumbai Indians have over the years built a strong core that comprises Rohit, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard.
While they hardly tinker with the core unit, they did add the likes of Chris Lynn and Nathan Coulter-Nile during the auction to further strengthen the squad.
While the Mumbai-based franchise has won the title on four occasions -- 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 -- the side would now be looking to make it two consecutive titles in a row.
The biggest strength of the franchise is the Indian core. The playing XI will definitely feature India's dependable players -- Rohit, Hardik and Bumrah. Add Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan into the mix and the side may very well do without a big foreign star in the top-order.
South Africa's limited-overs skipper Quinton de Kock is most likely to open the batting and the addition of Chris Lynn will further cause headaches in the rival camp.
Kieron Pollard has been in impeccable form, displaying big-hitting shots in every possible outing and under his leadership, Trinbago Knight Riders just won their fourth CPL title this year on Thursday night.
In the CPL 2020, Pollard took eight wickets with ball in hand, and he also managed to score 207 runs. If anything happens to Rohit midway in the tournament, Mumbai have a standby captain in the form of Pollard and the franchise would rally around him.
But in this edition, the bowling line-up may be a slight worry as Lasith Malinga has pulled out of the tournament due to personal reasons. It will now be on Bumrah to deliver at the top of the bowling attack and if the Indian pacer has an off day, the weak links in the death bowling arsenal maybe there for everyone to see.
Rohit has a special liking for Kiwi pacer Mitchell McClenaghan, but over the past few editions, the fast bowler has travelled the distance during the death overs. Australia quick Nathan Coulter-Nile has been added to the lineup and could be an option. But he has not played a game since the conclusion of the Big Bash League and his rhythm will need checking.
The UAE pitches are traditionally slow, and Mumbai Indians definitely have a problem in the spin bowling department when it comes to attacking. Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya are the two weapons that Rohit has and while they can hold ends up, can they attack and turn games with wicket-taking spells? That is a question only time can answer.
The other spin options are Jayant Yadav and Anukul Roy, but it is safe to say that these two would not be featuring in the playing XI in the first few games.
The likes of Krunal Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav would have extra incentive for sure with two T20 World Cups scheduled for the next two years. The IPL 2020 is slated to begin on September 19 and Mumbai Indians will take on Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the opening match of the tournament in Abu Dhabi.
Mumbai has won the title four times, while CSK has emerged triumphant three times. It is fitting that the biggest global T20 league will start off with such powerhouses in action on Day 1.
Mumbai Indians squad: Rohit Sharma, Chris Lynn, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Saurabh Tiwary, Mohsin Khan, Digvijay Deshmukh, Balwant Rai Singh, Sherfane Rutherford, Trent Boult, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Anmolpreet Singh, Jayant Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anukul Roy, Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan. (ANI)