MUMBAI: The five-time champions Mumbai Indians have lost their first five matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 and are grappling with a plethora of issues. We look at pivotal reasons behind Mumbai’s debacle:
Failure of openers
Apart from their first match of the tournament against Delhi Capitals, the Mumbai openers – Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan – have not been able to give a solid start to their team. Both Rohit and Kishan are swashbuckling stroke-makers but have only flattered to deceive so far. Though Kishan has scored a couple of half-centuries, his strike-rate has left a lot to be desired. Rohit, on the other hand, is struggling to produce a big innings.
Their failure as an opening pair has immensely hurt Mumbai’s prospects.
Mumbai’s bowling is heavily dependent on Jasprit Bumrah and apart from him, they don’t have any bowler who has the wherewithal to snag wickets. Till last year, they had fantastic T20 bowlers like Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar who delivered the goods for them.
This year, their replacements – Tymal Mills and Daniel Sams – have failed to even pass muster. Barring a few good overs, not only have they failed to chalk up wickets, but have also leaked runs. Jofra Archer’s unavailability has severely dented their bowling attack.
They also don’t have any quality spinner to bank on and hence the attack is not only flaccid but shambolically unbalanced as well.
“It’s been a mixed bag from our bowling unit. We’ve done some really good stuff. We dismissed a number of big players exactly how we thought we would but when the game had been in the balance, we’ve gone for some overs of 20-plus,” Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shane Bond told Star Sports.
He further said, “And when you concede more than 20 runs in some overs, then you end up losing matches.”
Lack of a quality all-rounder
Till last year, Mumbai had two terrific T20 all rounders like Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya who won them a slew of matches both with the bat as well as ball. But this year, Gujarat Titans purchased Hardik and Lucknow Super Giants bagged Krunal. Mumbai are missing both of them immensely.
Sams is considered an all-rounder but his performance so far has been subpar. Kieron Pollard still has the vigour to take bowlers to the cleaners, but his bowling proficiency has nosedived substantially. He has bowled just seven overs in his five matches.
Already beset with bowling woes, Mumbai are sorely missing a dependable all-rounder.
So, can Mumbai bounce back and qualify for the playoffs even after losing five matches on the trot? Technically, they can but the chances are extremely slim. They will have to turn over a new leaf and win eight out of the remaining nine matches to storm into the playoffs.
In 2014, Mumbai Indians had won seven matches out of nine to qualify for the playoffs after losing their first five matches. Was that a ‘Black Swan’ moment or can Mumbai replicate the history is something their fans will know in the days to come.