IPL 2019 team review: Near-spotless Mumbai Indians tick all boxes in best-ever title win
Mumbai Indians put one of their most clinical shows ever. (AFP Image)

2013, 2015, 2017 and now 2019. Turns out that Mumbai Indians are a lock when it comes to winning the IPL championship every alternate year. Living up to that pattern, the blues of Mumbai won the IPL for a fourth time to become the most successful franchise in the 12-year-long history of the tournament. Usually, when a team wins the same championship as many times as MI have, it’s tough to pick their best season. But with this team, there remain no such difficulties. (ALSO READ: Mumbai Indians win record fourth IPL title)

This was hands down MI’s best-ever IPL season, because unlike the previous three wins, Mumbai did not leave things for later. Beginning the tournament with two losses in their first three games, there were notions which predicted another season of MI playing catch-up. But the team lifted themselves from there to top the league stage standings and won the first qualifier to cement a place in the final.

MI enjoyed tremendous success against their biggest rivals, Chennai Super Kings, whom they beat four times this season, the maximum any team has gotten the better of another in one season. With a 4-0 sweep this year, MI is the only team to have a better win-loss ratio against Chennai, considered by many the overall best team across all season of the IPL.

Apart from their domination of Chennai, MI’s biggest positive was the combined effort of all the players. There were no chinks in MI’s armour this year and a huge chunk behind that revolves around how wonderfully the players were managed throughout the season. Every substitute was better than the player he replaced, and almost every player proved to be a match-winner at some point during the course.

IPL 2019 record: P 16, W 11, L 5

High Point

You cannot top winning a record fourth IPL title. Heading into the final, both Mumbai and Chennai were tied as three-time winners, and MI took a further step towards strengthening their legacy as of the best T20 franchises across all leagues. MI lost just three of their last 13 matches, which reflects just how emphatically they ransacked their opponents on their way to making the final for the fifth time.

Low Point

The only turmoil MI faced was at the beginning of the tournament, when they lost their first two of three games, rather emphatically – by 37 runs against Delhi Capitals and by eight wickets against Kings XI Punjab. It may also surprise you that while MI were pretty solid against all franchises, they could not get the better of Rajasthan Royals, whom they lost to twice this year.

Captaincy Verdict

Rohit Sharma was able to cement his place in the history books as the most successful captain of the IPL. Barring leading MI to four titles, the win gave Rohit his fifth IPL title which is the most for any player in the league’s 12-year existence. Everything he planned bode well for the team. He decided to open the innings and stuck with the call till the very end. His decision to use Jasprit Bumrah as now the new-ball bowler was a master-stoke. However, even with his accurate planning, Rohit was simply blessed to have players who would put their hands up tackle a given situation, which was MI’s biggest gain this season. More importantly, barring the No. 4 spot, Rohit did not tinker much with his winning combination either.

Most valuable player

Hardik Pandya was remarkable for Mumbai Indians time and again at the death. (BCCI Image)

Hardik Pandya‘s form and fitness was a question for India heading into the IPL, specially with the World Cup to play for. But the allrounder dispelled all doubts by a performance of a lifetime for MI. Pandya was most effective in the death overs, bailing MI out of trouble in numerous occasions, which gave him the second-best strike-rate of the season of 191.42, behind Andre Russell’s. He notched up the tournament’s fastest fifty – against Kolkata Knight Riders off 17 deliveries. He finished with 91 off 34 balls, a knock that gave KKR a massive scare. With the ball, Pandya claimed 14 wickets, the second-most for the team this year.

Major disappointment

His captaincy top-notch, but Rohit’s personal form was a bit of a letdown. With 405 runs from 15 matches at an average of 28.92 and two half-centuries, this was one of Rohit’s quieter IPL seasons. But it didn’t make much of a difference as even without Rohit being in the best of nicks, his opening combination with Quinton de Kock was the second-most prolific opening pair of the season. With 565 runs between them, Rohit and de Kock are only next to Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner and Jonny Bairstow’s tally of 791 runs.

Verdict

On paper and based on their pattern of winning the championship every alternate year, we expected MI to be crowned champions this year, which they did. This campaign of theirs was as clinical as they come. If any team across any T20 league wants to know what it takes to win, Mumbai Indians in 2019 lays the perfect blueprint.