The Mumbai Indians (“MI”), last year’s Indian Premier League (“IPL”) champions, kick things off in the IPL’s ninth season on April 9th, on home turf at the Wankhede stadium.
Facing the debutant Rising Pune Supergiants, one of the two interim franchises to replace the Chennai Super Kings (“CSK”) and the Rajasthan Royals, the MI enter the season as favorites, especially in the absence of the CSK.
As one of the IPL’s most consistent teams in recent years, the MI have also had stability in ownership as compared to some of the other franchises, in the process remaining relatively controversy-free off the playing field. This season’s squad features some of the younger members of the Indian T 20 team, including two who performed well at the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup: all-rounder Hardik Pandya, and bowler Jasprit Bumrah.
The MI are captained by Rohit Sharma, who besides being a regular opener in India’s T20 and One Day International teams, is also due a return to form after a somewhat less stellar performance in the ICC T20 World Cup than he would have wanted. The MI’s overseas players are also tried and tested performers at the T20 level, with all-rounders Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard, and bowlers Lasith Malinga and Tim Southee.
Let’s also not forget the man who broke a billion Indian hearts on his home IPL ground in the ICC T20 World Cup semi-finals: Lendl Simmons, whose innings paved the way for the West Indies’ upset victory over the Indian team.
All in all, the MI look set for a solid campaign, and their chances will be further bolstered by a distinct home-field advantage if they make it to the finals at Wankhede on May 29th.
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