Mumbai Indians have become the most successful team in IPL history when they won their fifth title by beating Delhi Capitals in the final. It looks like Mumbai have cracked the formula to win finals as they have lost just once in the final back in 2010. Since then, they have won five titles – all under the leadership of Rohit Sharma. So, what's the secret of their success.
1) Maintaining the core of the team
Unlike other teams, they have never chopped players on their whims and fancies. They have trusted their core group and retained them since their first title win. For example, 5 players from their winning XI in the 2013 IPL final played the title round of the 2017 IPL, which was their third IPL title. Only post that, they let go one of them in Ambati Rayudu. And from the final of 2017 IPL, five of them again starred in the 2020 IPL final, indicating retaining the core team has been the key to their success.
2) Persisting with players
They have persisted with Kieron Pollard despite the West Indian being off-color in some seasons, especially in the even years when MI have faltered as a team. Similarly, they have had persisted with Lasith Malinga when the Sri Lankan looked to have passed the prime. And both have played crucial roles in helping win titles for MI.
For example, Pollard made a match-winning score of 60 not out against CSK in the 2013 IPL final. Malinga dismissed Shardul Thakur LBW off the last ball in the 2019 IPL final to win MI their fourth IPL title by just a run. It has helped build loyalty among these players, who have played for only one team – MI – in their IPL careers.
3) Trading and buying smartly
MI have always spent wisely in the auction. They are the only team in the tournament that has been meticulous in buying or trading players, and bringing them into the squad. The inclusion of Trent Boult for this season just made the difference to their IPL campaign and helped MI add another IPL title to their kitty. For the record, Delhi traded Boult to Mumbai, and it was Boult who knocked out Delhi in the final.
Even when they bought Yuvraj Singh for a base price of Rs 2 crore in 2019 IPL, hoping experience will add depth to their middle-order, they didn't hesitate to bench him for the rest of the season, after the southpaw's few forgettable performances.
4) Batting and bowling show great responsibility
Unlike RCB or SRH or even DC, Mumbai Indians are not dependent on one or two players, be it batting or bowling. They don't depend on just Rohit Sharma alone for their runs or Jasprit Bumrah to get them wickets.
If Rohit misfires, they have Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and the Pandya brothers. And if everyone fails, they have Pollard to take care of the mess. On the bowling front, Bumrah has had great support from Boult this year. Their backup bowlers in Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson too have been up to mark. In the spin department, they have been served well by Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, and Jayant Yadav in the final. Overall, it's a well-rounded group in every season they have won the title.
5) A charismatic leader in Rohit
Unlike some leaders who hog all the limelight, Rohit continues to be just another team player, with the additional responsibility of leading the team. He has remained humble and given due limelight to each of his players. His faith in his teammates is legendary and continues to be.
He has also led from the front, as evident in the 2020 IPL final. He shares the victory among his teammates and draws great respect from them. His leadership alone has made the difference to Mumbai's success in IPL.