IPL 2020 is set to start on Saturday, with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on last year's finalist Chennai Super Kings in the opening match. Mumbai Indians are the strongest team on paper, with one of the best batting and bowling line-ups in the current season. So, can Mumbai lift the 2020 trophy and make a successful defense?
Cricwizz takes a look at Mumbai Indians' chances to make a successful defense of their IPL title.
A strong batting line-up
Mumbai have a batting line-up to die for. Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock will open the innings, after their successful pairing in the last season. Suryakumar Yadav, who relishes playing for Mumbai, will come at No 3 followed by Ishan Kishan, Pandya brothers, and Kieron Pollard. In fact, they are so spoilt for choices that they may have to bench hard-hitting Chris Lynn, who will have to wait for his chances.
A quality pace bowling line-up
They have one of the world’s best death bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah, another equally potent death bowler in Trent Boult. They also have Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and James Pattinson. So, if any of the foreign pacers go out of form, they have good backups to rely on. It ensures immense competition for places that would only improve performance, leading to good results.
Spin options could be a worry
They don’t have a big name in the spinner's spot. Rahul Chahar, who did a great job last season, would continue to lead the spin attack, with Krunal Pandya as a secondary spinner. And their spin backups in Jayant Yadav and a youngster in Anukul Roy do no inspire much confidence. Hence, Mumbai would hope Chahar, and Krunal would do their job.
It was Malinga who stole the IPL title for Mumbai last season, trapping Shardul Thakur on the last ball of the final to win the match by just a run. But Malinga is missing this time, and would not form a winning combination with Bumrah. That could prove decisive in the business end of the tournament.
The defense jinx
For the record, Mumbai has never won the IPL title in their defense. They have won every alternate year since 2013. They have won it in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. They have made a mockery of their title defense all the time. It could come to haunt them again until they keep complacency at bay, and go all out to successfully defend their title for the first time ever in the 2020 season.
Photo courtesy: IPLT20