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What Made Mumbai Indians The Champions of IPL 8

May 25, 2015


Starting with 5 defeats in the first 6 matches, ending up winning 9 out of the last 10; from the bottom of the table to the top of the world – a wonderful journey designating a wonderful team effort from the Mumbai Indians has taught us many lessons. It doesn’t matter how you start your campaign, it’s all about how you end it; and this team has shown exactly that. They put themselves in such a position from where their knockout stage had begun way before it was supposed to be. They had to win almost every single match and there was hardly any scope of stepping a foot wrong. So if I have to list the reasons why Mumbai Indians are the crowned champions, I have to mention not only those long term impacts that came into play, but also those little things dispensing which winning could only have been a dream.

  • Injuries – a blessing in disguise: I have mentioned before that the problem of plenty is something which has to be dealt with tactfully by the MI team management. Until a couple of players had to be left out because of their injuries, the best XI was certainly not playing in the field. With the team off to a poor start and then off went Aaron Finch and later Corey Anderson, it seemed like their tournament could only get worse from there. But it allowed the inclusion of Simmons-McClenaghen duo and the rest is history.
  • Opening stand: This is an area where the Mumbai Indians have been suffering ever since the commencement of the Indian Premier League. They were never sure about who will open alongside Sachin Tendulkar. And with his retirement the problem got bigger on them and it had to do a lot with their poor start in the previous season. Like the previous season here too, in came Lendl Simmons and dragged them off the edge to the royal highway of success. He has not only been the most consistent player of his team, but also his name will surely go down as one of the finest openers IPL has ever seen. Parthiv Patel, the other opener, has complemented his partner extremely well. Great foundations provided by this opening pair turned the weakness of the team into its strength, probably the best thing that happened to the Mumbai Indians this year.
  • McClenaghen’s arrival and Malinga’s comeback: No matter which format of the game, it is the bowlers who win you matches. Malinga has been a lead bowler for MI and that’s why they haven’t ever let him go. It was extremely important that he regains some rhythm back and deliver, because when he is in song, it leaves a strong impact on the whole bowling unit. He may not have been in the pink of his health anymore, but still he has proved his essence behind the success of the Mumbai Indians. It is needless to mention again how much value McClenaghen adds to this side. Getting him for 30L has proved to be a steal of a deal. I felt in many a few matches he was the actual match winner whereas someone else went on to win the MoM. Nevertheless, his performance means a lot to this team.
  • Harbhajan’s heroic: The turbanator may have been out of the competitive field for some time, but his hard work has still kept him in the game. He has delivered some outstanding spells under the pressure, won a couple of man of match awards in the high voltage games, and also bowled superbly in the last two matches. He got the ball to turn a little more this time and always looked to pick up wickets. He provided breakthroughs at crucial times with his newly developed seem-up delivery and also mind you, he has the fastest fifty of this season’s IPL. He has been selected in the Indian test team after a long 24 months’ interval, a thoroughly deserved place to have.
  • Responsibility taken by Rayudu and Pollard: A lot of Mumbai’s fate depended on how Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard play. The former, one of the silent warriors of this team, had a poor start to the tournament but from where he picked himself up to deliver the goods at the highest level. In many of the games he might have gone unnoticed (for example in the finals), but the role he casted was among the most valuable ones. On the other hand, if you talk about the latter, this IPL has seen a Kieron Pollard version 2.0. The man with the reputation of playing one dimensional cricket has stepped up to the responsibility and played according to the demand of game. Along with the monstrous sixes and marvelous catches we have also seen consistency and the reflection of experience in his game this time. And who can forget his herculean effort in that last over against KKR!
  • Youngsters showing their utility: Full credit to the Mumbai Indians for giving breaks to the likes of Suchith and Hardik Pandya. It’s great to see the youngsters drawing a big impact on the game. Suchith provided some solid support in the bowling, picked up occasional wickets and bowled some economic spells too. He dismissed 10 players in all and the interesting fact is the number of sticks of the big guns he claimed. Pandya on the other hand claimed a man of the match awards twice in this season, and both the occasions he brought back his team into the game from nowhere with his clean strikes. He chipped in some overs with the ball as well and one can associate his name with the future star allrounders. Both these players have got big hearts indeed.
  • Captain Fantastic Rohit Sharma: Big players always back themselves to put up big shows at big occasions. The way Rohit Sharma played last night was just another example of that. Overall he had a decent season with the bat and also while marshalling his troops. His batting was highly classy and dynamic as usual. When required he held the composure and anchored the innings, when situation demanded from him to change gears he was up to it as well. In the big finals he came in to bat under pressure and snatched the momentum away from the opposition by launching the counter attack. He treated every game as a knockout match and was ever so aggressive with his captaincy. No wonder to see him already having 3 trophies under his belt as captain.
  • Big effort from the coaching staffs: There had been a lot of discussion on the role of the coaches and almost everyone was finding reasons why a team should not have an elite panel of coaches when MI were losing in succession. But I feel one of the biggest reasons why Mumbai Indians have won the IPL for the 2nd time is none other than Ricky Ponting. He kept the players calm and never let them feel that they were on the losing streak. He brought out the best from every player and made the average players like Parthiv Patel look like an impact player. He has again proved why he has been a champion cricketer and a champion captain. Shane Bond, the bowling coach did a tremendous job too along with the other coaching staffs. It was important that the players don’t give up their hopes. And when they have someone like the God of cricket beside them, who didn’t give up his hopes of winning the world cup and chased that dream for 6 world cups, you can’t ask for any better inspiration.
  • The amazing fans: Talking about hope, if the players had kept it, one of the reasons why they could is that the fans didn’t lose it. Whatever the results had been, the fans kept turning up in great numbers to cheer for their team and their enthusiasm was a huge boost to the players. There might have been only one Vodafone Superfan for every match, but each and every people supporting this team were the real superfans within themselves.
  • Champion’s luck: Yes, quite a few strokes of luck went in the favor of the champions; like bowling the 19th over with Negi, the washout between RCB and DD, Dhoni’s decision of bowling first after winning the toss in the finals etc. But one will have to say cricket is about 99% performance and 1% luck. And if you don’t have that 1% luck with you then something or other will prevent you from reaching the optima. As I mentioned earlier that the luck favors the brave. The kind of team game they have shown, where it is hard to find out any individual who hasn’t contributed, Mumbai Indians deserve this Champion’s luck. It was destiny that lifted them to the 2nd place from the bottom at the end of the group stages, it was destiny that took them to Wankhede, their fortress, to play the qualifier and again, it was destiny that brought them here at the Eden Gardens, where they have such a record, which even many great teams don’t have in their home soil. Nobody could have written a better script.

  1. Hi Prantik, I’d like to get in touch with you over a collab project from Myntra. Could you share your email ID with me?

  2. Ankan Roy permalink


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