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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: The mightly Mumbai Indians are set for an encore

A SWOT analysis of the formidable 'paltan' as they pursue a third consecutive trophy in IPL 2021.

Mumbai Indians will be gunning for their sixth and third consecutive IPL trophy. [Source: IndiaTV]

Mumbai Indians will be gunning for their sixth title and a third consecutive IPL trophy. [Source: IndiaTV]


Anjishnu Roy

Updated: 3 April 2021 4:51 AM GMT

Few teams have dominated the Indian Premier League in the manner that the side packed with show-stoppers from the West-coast of the country has done over the last few years.

Sure, the Chennai Super Kings led by Stephen Fleming's magnificent think-tank and MS Dhoni's inimitable charisma come close, but even the three-time IPLchampions have hardly been as clinical as the current Mumbai Indians squad.

All of you are pretty familiar with the events that transpired in the United Arab Emirates where Rohit Sharma's men ran riot against the seven other sides and even beat the struggles and uncertainties of a pandemic to conquer their fifth IPL crown.

And that is what makes this outfit a truly dangerous one at that.

Champions in consecutive seasons, Mumbai Indians had little need to tamper with their squad ahead of IPL 2021 and that's exactly what they did during the auction.

With essentially the same side that boarded the flight to UAE last fall, the Paltan look a scary unit in pretty much every department.

Without giving away much here, let's delve deeper into their strengths and flaws ahead of IPL 2021 courtesy of this SWOT Analysis.

The 'Strengths' of Mumbai Indians for IPL 2021

A stable and solid core comprising of Indian talents

The recent successes of Mumbai Indians have been built upon this clear dogmatic philosophy.

Chennai Super Kings had set the template for this which bore immediate rewards for the franchise and while other franchises continued to meddle every other season looking to add glitz and glam without a solid core, Mumbai Indians understood the importance of stability.

Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Kieron Pollard have become seasoned campaigners playing for the franchise for almost their entire IPL careers.

Besides that, they've also bet massively on Indian talents like Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan over the years. The trio's debut during the recent limited-overs series against England is evidence of Mumbai Indians' impact as a franchise while harbouring Indian talents.

Scary batting firepower and depth

The backbone of any proper T20 cricketing side is judged on the basis of its batting unit.

In that regard, Mumbai Indians are stacked with talent and firepower from top to bottom. They have a maverick leader in Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock at the top and if needed, they can even count on Australia's swashbuckling Chris Lynn. Such is their batting glut.

Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya share excellent chemistry on and off the pitch. [Source: New Indian Express]

The next slots are filled by Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya.

The fact that opposition bowlers have to dismiss five-six batsmen and then have to watch a Kieron Pollard or a Krunal Pandya coming out to bat is simply put, unnerving, if not demoralising.

A well-functioning pace attack

The formula of two overseas bowlers and a Jasprit Bumrah has worked wonders for Mumbai Indians.

We all saw how New Zealand's Trent Boult charging with his usual pace and battery wreaked havoc during the Powerplay. Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah is well, Jasprit Bumrah and he'd be itching to get back to his craft after taking a personal break for a few weeks.

Include Nathan Coulter Nile into the mix and it becomes a pretty lethal pace attack.

The 'Weaknesses' of Mumbai Indians for IPL 2021

Mumbai Indians can account for formidable prowess in almost every department.

However, the one area where they could use reinforcements is the spin department. Given the fact that they'll play plenty of games in Chennai, the lack of a wicket-taking spinner could hurt their chances.

Sure, Rahul Chahar has impressed a lot in his relatively short playing career but counting on him alone to deliver could prove to be fatal.

Rahul Chahar has been one of the most recent finds of the IPL. [Source: Times of India]

Krunal Pandya can bowl a few overs, but we all saw the manner in which he was taken to the cleaners against England.

It remains to be seen how much game-time the seasoned yet new recruit Piyush Chawla gets. Despite being the third-highest wicket-taker in IPL history, the veteran has looked seriously off-colour over the last few seasons.

Jayant Yadav also remains a largely unused and therefore, unproven option.

The 'Opportunities' for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021

The Mumbai Indians will play five matches in Chennai and another three games in Bengaluru.

The franchise has a considerable edge over other sides when it comes to reliability and firepower in the middle-order. This could give them a massive opportunity to capitalize on while setting targets or chasing locations at these venues.

The 'Threats' for Mumbai Indians to be wary of in IPL 2021

Having been a loyal and wonderful servant for Mumbai Indians since the inaugural season of the IPL, Lasith Malinga has bid adieu to franchise cricket.

His departure has left an immense void in the squad that needs filling.

Team India has tried to manage Hardik Pandya's workload with the ball these last few months and there's no reason to believe that the precedent will not continue during IPL 2021.

Rohit Sharma did not even utilize a single over from Hardik Pandya in the last IPL. Kieron Pollard is no longer the spring chicken he used to be with the ball.

These factors coupled with the fact that the spin department is unreliable and largely unproven could leave the team looking for valid contributions from a fifth or sixth bowler in crucial situations.

In summary...

Considering everything, Rohit Sharma and co will still be starting as the favourites once again.

Despite certain so-called weaknesses and the inherent threats they face, they have all the resources and firepower they need to lift their sixth IPL trophy.

Anything less than a top-four finish will come as a big surprise.

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