Mumbai Indians will be the defending champions for this year VIVO IPL 2018. The team has retained their core players like Rohit Sharma, Pandya brothers, Pollard & Bumrah. Mumbai Indians have got some decent players in an auction but the spin department will be their concern. As we have seen in the past Mumbai takes their time to settle down for winning combination, it means that this will allow the bench strength to make their way to the middle.
I am predicting their playing XI which is balanced and if they click altogether then they will be a side to watch again.
Opening slot No. 1: Evin Lewis
This left-hand opener can into the limelight when he scored a quick 100 against India in T20I, back in 2016. He doesn’t take too much time to settle down. In last Caribbean premier league, Lewis scored 371 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 184 with an average of 41. In this tournament, he scored three 50’s and also hit 31 sixes. Lewis considers Gayle his mentor and it looks like he is following the same path. It would be exciting to watch Lewis opening the innings for Mumbai Indians.
Opening Partner at No. 2: Ishan Kishan
Wicket Keeper batsman who had performed decently by scoring 277 runs in 11 games with a good strike rate of 134.46 in last year IPL for Gujarat Lions. He will be looking to make most of his opportunities by scoring some quick runs for his team. Mumbai always tries to push their young players at the top order to get maximum of opportunity. Considering this fact, Ishan will be the strong contender to open the innings. Rohit may open the batting in some crucial games if he fails to perform.
Batting at No. 3: Rohit Sharma
Mumbai skipper will play a key role in this team as he’ll be looking to lead from the front. As we saw in last IPL season, most probably he won’t be opening the innings to give other young players to showcase their talent at the top.Rohit won’t allow bowlers to settle if he gets his rhythm.
Rohit Sharma scored 100 runs in just 35 balls last year and holds the record of the scoring fastest T20 international century along with David Miller. Rohit Sharma has been an integral part of Mumbai Indians from 2011 and he was retained at this year IPL auction for a price of 15 crore INR.
Batting At No. 4: JP Duminy
South African middle-order batsman JP Duminy will be the player to hold the innings if top order crumbles down. Mumbai don’t have not too many spin bowling option, so the inclusion of Duminy will allow Mumbai Indians to go with extra spin bowling option.In IPL, batting at no.4 or 5 Duminy has scored over 1316 runs with the average of 50 plus and a strike rate of 127.
Batting at No. 5: Krunal Pandya
All-rounder from Baroda is considered limited overs specialist and has shown some good potential in last few years. Like his brother Hardik, Krunal is capable of clearing the ropes and bowling full quota of his overs with economical bowling rate. Krunal scored a fighting 47 against Pune last year in finals of IPL 2017 and won the man of the match record for his match-winning knock.
Krunal has all the batting abilities when it comes to scoring runs in middle overs. He finds the gap with ease and his natural strokeplay ability allow his team to dominate over the opposition. Batting at no. 5 will allow him to settle and then go after the bowling attack in the final overs.
He’ll also be leading the spin department for Mumbai. Krunal’s bowling economy was 6.82 in last IPL where he bagged 10 wickets in 13 games.
Batting at No.6: Kieron Pollard
Pollard has played 123 matches for Mumbai and has scored over 1500 runs at the strike rate of 146.No. 6 is very crucial for batting position for a team as someone is needed to keep the scoreboard moving from the first ball & clear fence with ease in final overs. Pollard being the senior member of this side will be required to take this responsibility. Pollard plays in every reputed T20 league and his experience will be very valuable to Mumbai.
Pollard is also one of the best fielders in the world. Pollard was retained for 5.40 Crore INR using the RTM at this year IPL auction.
Batting at No. 7: Hardik Pandya
Hardik can hit those big sixes if the ball is in his zone. Good news is that he has been bowling his full quota of overs in limited overs cricket recently for last 7-8 months. Pandya has a special role to play and he’ll have to deliver.
Batting at No. 8: Surya Kumar Yadav
Surya Kumar Yadav who was vice-captain of KKR will be playing for his hometown this year. Yadav will be playing the role of a finisher but he will surely get some chances top of the order to showcase his talent. Yadav scored 217 runs recently in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy with a whopping strike rate of 188 in 8 matches. Yadav can also be promoted as a floater who would just go and take on the bowling side.
At No. 9: Pat Cummins
Cummins got 15 wickets in 12 matches IPL season last year where the presence of Indian pacer Zaheer Khan helped Cummins shape into a lot better bowler. He will be paired with Jasprit Bumrah to take initial breakthroughs and stop the run flow during the final overs. It would be interesting to see how he would perform because he hasn’t played any T20 cricket after the last IPL season. Cummins can also contribute with the bat lower down the order.
At No. 10: Pradeep Sangwan (or Rahul Chahar)
Pradeep Sangwan will be part of playing XI when they are playing in Mumbai grounds as wickets will support fast bowlers. He was in good form in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy where he notched up 13 wickets in 10 games for Delhi & led his team to win the trophy.
On the other hand, Rahul also picked up 19 wickets in the tournament and became the highest wicket taker of the tournament. Being only Indian spinner in the squad he directly comes into playing XI on the spinning tracks. Last year, he was bought by Pune and he could take only 2 wickets off the 3 matches which he played. Mumbai may also go with both of youngsters and this will eventually either Duminy or Surya Kumar Yadav from the squad.
At No. 11: Jasprit Bumrah
If the IPL is all about spotting Indian talent and giving them the platform, the credit for the rapid rise of Bumrah must go to Mumbai Indians. Bumrah has been picking up most numbers of wickets in T20s for the last couple of years for the Indian team. In 2016, he picked up 28 wickets in 21 T20 international games and topped the chart of the highest wicket-takers. In 2016 IPL edition, Bumrah picked up 15 wickets in 14 matches and 2017 IPL was even better with 20 wickets in just 16 matches.
Last year, super over against Gujarat Lion showed how much he has improved. Now he is matured enough to lead the bowling department in absence of Lasith Malinga. He can also bowl in swings, out swings with the new ball.