Defending champions Mumbai Indians begin their IPL title defense against Royal Challengers Bangalore of Virat Kohli at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. The opening shock of the season will see Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli go head to head. But there are plenty of other players who have the ability to tip the scales of the game in their team’s favor. The Mumbai Indian roster boasts of a few big international names, but it is a strong Indian core that has made the team successful over the years.
Few teams can boast of an Indian core like Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik and Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar.
The opening of India is now synonymous with the Indians of Mumbai. When you think of MI, it’s hard to look past Rohit Sharma. That has been his impact since joining the franchise. The sleek right-hander, however, hasn’t been at his absolute best in recent matches. He was fined 161 in the test series against England, but despite his debut in the three-game T20I and ODI five-game series, he had a high score of 64, which was his only half. century.
Last season in the UAE, Rohit averaged just 27.66, scoring a total of 332 points with a strike rate of 127.69. He struck three half centuries without a single cent to his name.
The 30-year-old made his international arc in the T20I series against England in India. While he could not beat in his first game (2nd T20I) and was abandoned for the third game of the series. He came back with a bang, scoring a brilliant 57 in Game 4 and followed it with a fluent 32 in the fifth and final T20I.
Suryakumar has been a revelation for Mumbai Indians over the past three seasons. Last year, he amassed 480 runs in 16 games at an average of 40 with four half centuries to his name. Also, he got his points at an impressive strike rate of 145.01. In the 2019 season, Suryakumar scored a total of 424 points while his best IPL comeback came in the 2017 season, when he scored 512 points in 14 games.
The newest addition to the husbands club in the Indian cricket team, Bumrah has been out of action since the second test against England. A fresh, well-rested Bumrah could spell the end of the opposition, and the Indians of Mumbai will count on him to take most of the wickets.
The stimulator was at his threatening best in the UAE, winning 27 wickets in total as the Mumbai Indians battled for a record fifth title. He was second only to Kagiso Rabada of the Delhi Capitals who put 30 wickets. The 2020 season has been Bumrah’s best in IPL. Besides the wickets, the 27-year-old had a saving rate of 6.73.
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