IPL 2018: SWOT Analysis of Mumbai Indians (MI) squad

Mumbai Indians have dominated the recent seasons of the Indian Premier League like no other with Rohit Sharma’s team winning 3 IPL titles in previous 5 seasons of the competition. Given their track record, Mumbai Indians will once again be touted as the favorites to lift the trophy and replicate their success from last season. Over the years, Mumbai Indians have always possessed the best squad in the IPL, however, IPL 2018 auction saw a couple of strange calls from the Mumbai Indians setup to let go the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Lendl Simmons, Jos Buttler, and Lasith Malinga and shake-up their core team from last few seasons.

The IPL 2018 auction was not a total disaster for the reigning IPL Champions as they managed to add Patt Cummins, Mustafizur Rehman, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Ben Cutting, and JP Duminy to the already talented Mumbai Indians roster. Another familiar name who will play for Mumbai Indians this season is Mitchell McClenaghan, who was signed as a replacement by Mumbai Indians for the injured Jason Behrendorff. Having discussed the new arrivals and departures from the Mumbai Indians squad, we aim to perform a detailed SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of the reigning IPL Champions aiming to win their 4th Indian Premier League title.

Mumbai Indians Complete IPL 2018 Squad:

Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan (WK), Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan

With such a talented bunch of players around, it will be a tricky task for the Mumbai Indians management to decide the best playing 11 which would mean leaving many big-name players and then manager their egos from clashing in the dressing room. With IPL 2018 on the horizon, here is the best Playing 11 for Mumbai Indians from our point of view which for now has Kieron Pollard ahead of Ben Cutting which could change as the season draws to a close.

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Probable Mumbai Indians Playing 11 for IPL 2018

Ishan Kishan (wk), Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Mustafizur RehmanPatt Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah

IPL SWOT Analysis: Mumbai Indians SWOT Analysis – Strengths

1). Destructive batsmen in the powerplay overs

According to the finely crunched stats from last 5 seasons of Indian Premier League (IPL), Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan are the must-have batsmen in the powerplay overs (1st-6th over) of IPL cricket. Over the years, Rohit Sharma has averaged 23 runs at a strike rate of 145 in powerplay overs of IPL cricket. Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan has averaged 26 runs at a strike rate of 148. Mumbai Indians signed Evin Lewis in the IPL 2018 auctions who was the top scorer in T20I cricket in the year 2017 with 357 runs to his name at a strike rate of 154.54. Evin Lewis enjoyed the successful year of 2017 in T20 cricket with 1124 runs at a strike rate of over 165 which gives Mumbai Indians a huge advantage over the other teams in the powerplay overs.

2). Mumbai Indians have the finest finishers in IPL 2018

In terms of hitting boundaries in the death overs (16th-20th over mark) Mumbai Indians have the luxury of fielding Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rohit Sharma, and Suryakumar Yadav in their IPL 2018 playing 11. Talking about numbers, Rohit Sharma will be Mumbai’s best bet to take the to huge totals in death overs as he averages a boundary every 3.5 balls in IPL cricket over the past 5 seasons. Rohit’s dot-ball percentage in those seasons is as low as 25% in death overs of IPL cricket.

Similarly, Pandya brothers (Krunal and Hardik) also have an average of 4 balls per boundary in last few seasons of IPL while their dot-ball percentage in the death overs of IPL cricket is just 30%. Mumbai Indians newcomer Surya Kumar Yadav is another boundary hitter in the death overs as he averages a boundary every 4.5 balls and has a dot-ball percentage of just 33% in recent seasons of IPL. These number clearly tell us that Mumbai Indians is the team to chase down big totals or set up massive targets in the first innings. So all the bowlers facing Mumbai Indians in the death over, BETTER WATCH OUT!

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3). Bowling in Death Overs is Mumbai’s forte

If scoring huge runs in the death overs is Mumbai’s strength then stopping their opponents from doing the same is their forte. Mumbai Indians have the luxury of fielding some of the finest death-overs bowlers in IPL cricket in last few seasons with Jasprit Bumrah, Mustafzur Rehman and Pat Cummins/Mitchell McClenaghan having the responsibility of bowling 12 of the 20 overs in Mumbai’s bowling attack. All these bowlers will have an extra lift and edge to their death-overs bowling this season with former Mumbai Indians legend and IPL’s all-time wicket-taker Lasith Malinga is working as the bowling coach for the team this season.

Bowlers Total IPL Wickets IPL death overs Strike Rate (Last 5 Seasons) IPL death overs Economy Rate (Last 5 Seasons)
Mitchell McClenaghan 54 8 balls per wicket 8.5 Runs Per Over
Mustafizur Rehman 17 16 balls per wicket 7.8 Runs Per Over
Jasprit Bumrah 46 16 balls per wicket 9.7 Runs Per Over

4). MI have retained their core squad with a winning mentality

Mumbai Indians were thorough in their auction policy for the IPL 2018 season as they retained Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, and Jasprit Bumrah before the auction and then decided to use their RTM (Right to Match) option to sign Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya and retain their entire IPL title-winning core team from last few seasons. All these 5 players will be key in bringing the new MI signings up to speed and make them understand what it is like to be a Mumbai Indians player.

IPL 2018: Swot Analysis of Mumbai Indians (MI) squad
Lasith Malinga is back with the MI setup, this time as a mentor

IPL SWOT Analysis: Mumbai Indians SWOT Analysis – Weaknesses

1). Kieron Pollard’s inability to play as an all-rounder

Mumbai Indians were happy to retain Kieron Pollard by paying INR 5 Cr for his services but his recent stints in the Big Bash League and Pakistan Super League have been a one-sided affair where he has not been bowling with any degree of consistency. Pollard’s six-hitting ability is still second to none but in the death overs in last few IPL seasons, Pollard has been eating a lot of balls (dot-ball percentage up to 30%) and is averaging 5 balls for every boundary he has been hitting.

2). The absence of a world-class spinner

Unlike previous seasons, Mumbai Indians will be without the services of Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma both of them were let go by Mumbai Indians and in turn, have brought in Rahul Chahar as their main wrist spinner with Krunal Pandya acting as the back-up. Krunal has been one of the control bowlers in the recent seasons with a steady economy of 7 RPO and a healthy strike rate of 25.5 balls per wicket.

The big question in Mumbai’s IPL campaign will be that are Chahar and Krunal good enough to pick those vital wickets in the middle overs? Only time will tell! Akila Dhananjaya, however, is an interesting option Mumbai Indians could use in the away games against Chennai Super Kings or Kolkata Knight Riders as Akila can come in place of Patt Cummins and give the side an edge at those slow spinning tracks.

3). Over-reliance on Rohit Sharma in the middle order

Rohit Sharma will be the lynchpin of Mumbai Indians’ batting this season if the franchise decides to go with Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan at the top which seems like the biggest possibility. Given the nature of Mumbai’s opening pair, Rohit could be facing a situation of 10/2 or even 5/2 in many games and he then would have the responsibility of batting through the entire innings without taking the usual risks Rohit likes to take in his innings.

IPL SWOT Analysis: Mumbai Indians SWOT Analysis – Opportunities

1). JP Duminy can improve the Playing 11 balance

While deciding on the probable Mumbai Indians playing 11, JP Duminy was one name I wanted to put in especially seeing him bat in the PSL. Duminy’s IPL numbers also back his case as he is one of IPL’s best finishers in recent seasons where he averages only 15% of the dot balls in death overs and manages to hit a boundary every 4th ball he faces during the 16th-20th over mark. Duminy will be eagerly waiting for his chance and will certainly improve Mumbai’s IPL 2018 Playing 11 when called upon during the season.

2). Time for Rahul Chahar to step-up his game

Mumbai Indians have asked the 18-year-old Rahul Chahar to significantly raise his game and become Mumbai’s leading spinner in the IPL 2018 season after spending INR 1.9 Cr on him at the auction. Following the recent trends in the IPL, Chahar’s wrist spin puts him in the bracket of wicket-takers and he can turn out be Mumbai’s biggest secret weapon as they aim to defend their IPL title.

3). Krunal Pandya to shine at number 3?

With Ambati Rayudu, Lendl Simmons, and Jos Buttler leaving the side this season, Mumbai Indians are in need of a new number 3 batsman if Rohit Sharma wants to continue to bat at his preferred number 4 position. Among the current crop of players, Krunal has shown that potential with few match-winning innings in the last season of IPL and he could become a regular number 3 option for Mumbai Indians and cement himself as the main batsman for Mumbai in the IPL 2018.

IPL SWOT Analysis: Mumbai Indians SWOT Analysis – Threats

1). Hardik Pandya’s recent form

Hardik Pandya’s selection for the South African test series was seen as an opportunity for the young all-rounder to take the next step in his international career, however, Hardik flopped with both bat and ball barring a couple of performances. Then followed the ODI and T20I series which also turned out to be a disappointment for the Mumbai Indians all-rounder. Hardik’s recent form must be a cause of concern for Mumbai Indians and the MI roster will be hoping to see the Hardik Pandya from last season where he won several matches with both bat and ball for Mumbai.

2). Relying on youngsters for crucial roles

Opening slot and the wrist spin are the two most important areas of any T20 side and perhaps more for an IPL franchise given the intense competition in the Indian Super League. Mumbai Indians, however, have given these responsibilities to Ishan Kishan (19 yrs) and Rahul Chahar (18 yrs) which could go against Mumbai Indians and force them to alter their tactics in the middle of the season. As stated earlier, Akila Dhanajaya could be the wildcard Mumbai Indians could decide to go with in games where they feel the need of an extra spinner and take the pressure off the likes of Chahar and Krunal.

These points have certainly covered or at least touched almost every base of Mumbai Indians’ tactics for the 2018 IPL season and if their plans go as well as they seem on paper, we may be looking at Mumbai Indians as our IPL 2018 Champion.

WATCH: Sachin Tendulkar picks up the bat again with Mumbai Indians

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