MI, IPL 2018, Mitchell McClenaghan , Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah
Mitchell McClenaghan leaked 24 runs off his final over last match against RCB © AFP

For Vivo IPL 2018Mumbai Indians (MI) had retained Rohit SharmaJasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, and as expected, acquired Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya. They let Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga go. While Harbhajan was bagged by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for base price of INR 2 crores, MI retained Malinga as bowling mentor. Ironically, the lack of an experienced spinner and a death-bowling specialist have hurt MI this season: Harbhajan would have fit both bills.

MI have so far won only 2 of their 8 games this season. They are reaching that phase of the tournament when they need to win almost everything. They do carry a reputation of doing that, but this may turn out to be one season too many. Unfortunately, of their 6 defeats, 5 were decided in the last over. They conceded 10 in the last over to an injured Kedar Jadhav in the tournament opener, against CSK, after Dwayne Bravo‘s incredible assault. Against Sunriser Hyderabad, they could not prevent the last pair from adding 7 in the last over. Against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Mitchell McClenaghan was asked to bowl the last over. After conceding 11 in 3 overs, McClenaghan went for 24 in his final over.

Of course, Bumrah has stood up to the expectations and has the best bowling economy of 7 for MI. Mustafizur Rahman was expected to do the same, but has failed to pick up wickets and got dropped. Ben Cutting was given a chance in 2 matches, but he leaked 54 in the 5 overs he bowled. MI are in desperate need for someone to accompany Bumrah in the last 4 overs.

There options could be:
Jofra Archer, who has done well in his 2 games for Rajasthan Royals (RR). He has picked up 6 wickets and has gone for only 6 an over.
Lungi Ngidi, who went for 6.50 an over in his only match, for CSK.
Tim Southee, who has bowled brilliantly in the death overs for RCB, and has an economy rate of 7.37 from 2 games.
Chris Jordan of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), expensive in the last two IPL seasons but can do wonders with his variations.

The other problem for MI could be lack of experience in the spin department. They did not have to worry about this till last year with the presence of Harbhajan in the team. However, this time the job has been on the shoulders of young Mayank Markande, who is still in the race of Orange Cap with 11 wickets. However, that initial zing seems to have faded out a bit.

Krunal Pandya has been seen doing with the ball as well, but not as good as a specialist. Akila Dananjaya leaked 47 in 4 overs when he was given a chance.

The spin options for MI could be Moeen Ali, who hasn’t played a single game for RCB. He has a decent economy of 7.69 in T20Is and can be more than a handy batsman in the end overs. They could also pick Ish Sodhi of RR who has only payed one game so far. He has picked 36 T20I wickets in 26 matches with an economy of 7.43.