One can not even dream of dominating a tournament such has been the dominance of MI in this tournament over a long period of time. They have almost every box ticked and they will be looking to make a hattrick of the trophies this year.

The indian contingent of Mumbai Indians is so powerful and talented that only their indian players can beat any team at any given day. Last year they played on away conditions and still came out winning the tournament and this year will be moreover the same as their will not be any home advantage for them but a settled lineup, powerful backups and smart decisions will ensure that they go on the hunt for the sixth title unfazed

Where have they finished in this cycle?

2018: 5th || 2019: Winner || 2020: Winner

Bugbear in 2020

Mumbai Indians were the second most expensive side in the middle overs (ER 8.07) and had the second worst average (37.48) in this phase. The spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar were the most expensive going at 8.11 per over.

Additionally, MI’s third seamers didn’t lift their pace stocks much. James Pattinson, was expensive going at over nine per over while Nathan Coulter-Nile struggled to take wickets, picking just five in seven games.

What changes this season?

Hardik Pandya’s return to bowling is a plus, if not a big advantage. They have also made marginal improvements on their reinforcements.

Even as the core unit still remains the same, they have improved on their backups. James Pattinson has been replaced by Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan has made way for a younger promising talent – South Africa’s Marco Jansen. In the all-round department, Sherfane Rutherford has been replaced by James Neesham as the back-up for Kieron Pollard.

Piyush Chawla has been added to the squad and could have a role to play in XI at times, if not just be a worthy backup. . The team combinations, roles and approach are unlikely to be any different for as long as they continue their dominant spree.

Tactics Watch

Mumbai Indians have largely used their spinners in a defensive role. Since 2018, Krunal has conceded runs at 7.33 and Chahar at 7.41. However, while the latter has picked 28 wickets in as many matches, Krunal has bagged only 30 in 46. With Mumbai Indians playing most of their games on slower venues – five in Chennai and four in Delhi – it will be interesting to see if their roles will change.

They also have the option of using Chawla instead of Chahar on the slower venues and can even tweak their combination by bringing in Jayant Yadav for one of the foreign pacers if need be. On slower tracks, Kieron Pollard’s cutters could come in handy, much like how Hardik Pandya has used the trick in recent internationals.

Uncapped player watch

With Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan making their international debuts recently, Mumbai Indians are unlikely to have any uncapped player in the XI, and most of their back-ups too are likely to be international level players. Marco Jansen though, could be an exception.

The tall left-arm pacer from South Africa, who hits the deck hard, had troubled Virat Kohli in one of the practice sessions during India’s tour of South Africa in 2018. The IPL scouts have kept a close eye on Jansen for the last couple of years and were surprised when none of the other teams showed interest in him during the auction. Even as he is unlikely to get a game this year, he could be one of the long term prospects for the franchise.

Likely XI

Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (Wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Adam Milne/Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar/Piyush Chawla, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah

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