Mumbai Indians created history and when it won a fourth Indian Premier League title by beating arch-rival Chennai Super Kings by one run in a pulsating final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday.
Mumbai Indians ticked all the boxes in the league. It finished first in the league, won the first qualifier convincingly and grabbed the moments that mattered in the final to emerge victorious.
But what makes Mumbai Indians an invincible team?
Its coach Mahela Jayawardene broke it down on the eve of the match.
“I think it's just the setup, the group we have, the players, the quality and the hunger that the guys have for success. It's a culture we've created, not just now, but over years and we've tried to keep a core group of players who have improved the franchise as well, so they have that identity and that passion to play for the team. The players also play fearless cricket, which is important in a tournament like this. We do simple things, we allow the players to go out and express themselves, and as long as they are enjoying the challenges we get good results,” he said.
Skipper Rohit Sharma said the key factor to Mumbai’s success is its preparation.
“The preparation does not start before the IPL, but it starts after we finish the IPL. Last year after we didn't qualify, a few months later we started our preparations in terms of the players we need to target in the auctions. That's where I think the Mumbai Indians scout team has to be given a lot of credit because they have gone to all domestic tournaments around to identify what players will suit our team culture. It is these kind of things focus a lot on. And, it has paid dividends as well.
“We are very particular about how we want to prepare, and we've been spot on. The credit goes to the entire team management, and then the players for stepping up and performing the way we expect them to perform. I think that has been the key for us over the years,” he explained.
Another aspect of Mumbai Indians’ win is the way different players have risen to the occasion.
“That's something we spoke about at the beginning of the season as well. It takes pressure off key players as well — otherwise, they are going to a game under pressure. When you have six-seven guys to win a battle for you out there, it gives you opportunities to win matches. That's something we realised you require in such a tournament,” Mahela said.
Throwing light on the team composition, Mahela said, “It's important we trust a group of players. And we identify the guys who are performing and who is in form and once you're transparent about that everyone understands what's the best XI and they pick themselves quite easily.
Mayank [Markande] started the season, but we felt Rahul [Chahar] was bowling much better and his rhythm was better. So, we went with that option. Same with Lasith [Malinga]. Last year, Lasith was injured and not in great form. This year we thought he was back in form and would be a good foil for [Jasprit] Bumrah because at the back end lots of teams are leaking runs in that department. So, we want to have experience there. So, it's a collective decision.”
- Vijay Hazare Trophy LIVE Score, Round 6: Karnataka loses five wickets vs Haryana; TN rebuilds vs MP
- Haughey wins 100m free in US Open meet record
- Tim Howard elected to U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame
- Medjedovic upsets Fils to win Next Gen Finals championship match
- Brazilian forward Vitor Roque set to join Barcelona in January