After releasing big names like Martin Guptill and Corey Anderson, Mumbai Indians showed merit prevails over fame as they bought some utility players in this year's IPL auctions, strengthening the existing squad and launching their quest for a third IPL title.
Analyzing MI's squad after the 2017 IPL auctions
Last season’s performance: 5th place finish
After an awful start which left them with four points from first six matches, Mumbai Indians’ campaign got back on track with three back-to-back victories. However, defeat in two from next three meant that Rohit’s boys had to win both their final league's games. Though they registered a thumping win over Delhi in the penultimate league match, a loss against Gujarat in the last proved fatal and MI was out of the race for the play-offs.
Players Retained – 20
Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Lendl Simmons, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jos Butler, Tim Southee, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayadu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, J Suchith, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jitesh Sharma, Deepak Punia.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) February 20, 2017
Players Bought in IPL 2017 Auctions – 7
Karn Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mitchell Johnson, Asela Gunarathna, Saurabh Tiwary, Nicolas Pooran, Kulwant Khejroliya
Team Strength/Weakness and Chances in IPL 10:
With two of the world’s best T20 bowlers in their ranks, Mumbai can boast of a lethal bowling attack. The new addition – Karn Sharma is expected to reduce Harbhajan’s spin bowling burden a bit, while Mitchell Johnson injects a new lease of freshness in the MI attack.
In the batting department, Mumbai would not like to tinker their settled line-up much. While Butler and Pollard form the backbone of the middle-order, a lot will depend on how they get a start from the openers. Currently in great form against Australia in the T20Is, batting all-rounder Asela Gunaratne can be the pick among the new buys. With Mumbai having Mahela Jayawardene as their batting coach, it is believed the Sri Lankan legend was instrumental behind Gunaratne’s inclusion.
The batting looks a tad weak compared to their bowling, but the likes of Pollard and Rohit have enough ammunition to send the ball across the boundary lines repeatedly. Harbhajan’s performance will determine whether Mumbai stay in contention for a playoff spot.
Best Playing XI:
Rohit Sharma(C), Lendl Simmons, Ambati Rayadu, Jos Butler(Wk), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya/Nitish Rana, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga