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Mumbai Indians' turnaround

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Mumbai_Indians_MI_IPL_CricketThe Mumbai Indians have emerged as the team to beat in the ongoing 10th edition of the IPL.

No other team, apart from table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders, have managed 6 or more victories thus far in the tournament. Mumbai Indians have reached the second place on the table, above imposing sides like the Sunrisers – who seem to be getting better all the time – and the somewhat tricky Supergiant, winning 6 of their 8 games.

At the outset, common logic would offer credit to Rohit Sharma alone, who seems to have led his men like a good officer leading troops in a battle, thinking of each game like their last. It isn’t really Sharma alone who is responsible for Mumbai’s change in fortunes.

All IPL sides look like a perfect get-together of globetrotting soldiers seemingly harmonious in one another’s company, perhaps the key representation of IPL’s DNA. Mumbai seem to be that side that, despite ups and downs, fight well together. If a Pollard doesn’t show up with the bat or ball, he will be himself in the field: agile and brave, always up to the cause.

If Rohit Sharma fails with the bat, he will spend his day during the game being a useful talker, offering a word of advice to his bowlers when an asking rate is going too low for the batting side. Nowadays, the upcoming all-rounders, brothers Krunal and Hardik Pandya, are holding the team aloft when Mumbai needs them the most.

It’s helping that Jos Buttler’s form is improving whilst a collection of bright youngsters, especially new find Nitish Rana, are going all guns blazing with the willow.

We attempt to ascertain individual performers who’ve come together good for a side that depends so much on deriving strength from one another’s performance. Especially at a time where sides like Gujarat Lions with experienced big hitters- McCullum, Finch and adaptable batsmen of the ability of a Jadeja and Dwayne Smith haven’t really come together with the side languishing at 5 and where other batting-heavy sides (seemingly naturally skewed toward the high scoring asks of the tournament) such as the RCB, with a Gayle, AB and, Kohli and also often uncelebrated Kedar Jadhav are nearly on the verge of extinction from the play-off stage.

1. Hardik Pandya

His might have been a minor contribution, but is an important one toward upping Mumbai’s winning chances. He’s been not out on 6 occasions out of 8 games in 2017 season, scoring 133 runs, therefore his batting average is the best of the lot, at 66. Technically speaking, his runs have come from 2 innings whilst he’s remained unbeaten on 6 occasions in the tournament thus far.

Being a bowler helps Hardik as well. He has picked up 4 wickets, even though the economy is 8 per over, it’s the best he’s bowled in last 3 IPL seasons. His performances point to a bowling strike of 22, when in 2015, it were an inflated 102.

2. Jos Buttler

Mumbai’s man on a mission seems to be answering brickbats just as well from the bat whilst his often-taciturn nature does the part well too.

Having scored 230 runs already this season at a strike rate of 154, when in 2016, it took him 14 matches to reach 255 runs speaks of the form he has been in.

3. Nitish Rana

Collecting 266 runs from just 8 matches, this season punctuated by 3 fifties- knocks of 62, 53 and 50 speaks the kind of form the Delhi-born Mumbai batsman is in. His lofty hits on either sides of the ground have blazed batting trails Mumbai has decorated the IPL with, this season.

4. Kieron Pollard

Cometh the hour, cometh -Kireon Pollard, truth be told. Mostly for Mumbai Indians! Its off course, another debate altogether as to why the Trinidadian cannot put the kind of performances that he thrusts for Mumbai under national colors.

Not much of a bowler this time, Pollard the batsman has been up to the mark with scores of 26, 39, 70, 27, currently standing 1 run shy of 200 runs in this IPL, before the Gujarat Lions game, come April 29.

But most critical talking point for Pollard this season has been his excellent catching, usually a standard operating procedure for the lanky lad, exemplified by his snapping of 7 vital catches, with no drops whatsoever in the outfield.

Also complementing his agile fielding is match-winning 70 off 43 balls, an inning that dented Bangalore’s confidence and hope especially when Badree’s hat-trick had given them a dream performance, nearly enough to win them the game.

But when you realize that the Pollard you are seeing now is the one who’s scoring runs quickly, even rapider than the last year around, you’d want to revisit his 2016 stats to believe it.

In 2016 season, he scored, 207 runs from 13 games while he might just cross last year’s figure in the next game against Gujarat, with quite a few games to go.

5. Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah is more than a clever bowler during the quintessential ‘death stages’ of a game.

So far, from 8 games he has taken 9 of his overall 35 IPL wickets with several games to go which might not seem like a current issue for the Indore-based side, given that they are nearly through to the play-offs, unless some sudden mediocrity should topple their hitherto-promising journey.

 

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