Mumbai discover uncut gems to make it farther than expected

Manjrekar: Don't think Rohit Sharma was at his best tactically in IPL 2023 (2:07)

Moody: "One thing I did admire was Rohit Sharma's consistency with the way he presented himself and the intent he played with" (2:07)

Where they finished

Mumbai Indians were knocked out in the second Qualifier by Gujarat Titans, after finishing fourth in the league (eight wins and six losses) and winning the Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants.

They began the season trying to cope with the absence of key players and won only three of their first seven games. But they recovered to win five of their last seven and made the playoffs after Royal Challengers Bangalore lost their last league match to Titans.

The good - Mumbai find more Indian talent

Mumbai unearthed not one but three promising players - Tilak Varma, Nehal Wadhera and Akash Madhwal - in IPL 2023.

Varma had broken through last season and took his game to the next level this year. He started with a 46-ball 84 against RCB and finished with a stunning 43 off 14 balls in Qualifier 2. He ended the season with a strike rate of 164.11, up from 131.02 last year.

Wadhera, too, had a significant impact in the lower-middle order after making his T20 debut in the first game of the season. He scored 21 off 13 balls in that game against RCB, when Mumbai were 45 for 4, and struck back-to-back fifties against Chennai Super Kings and RCB to finish the season with a strike rate of 145.18.

Madhwal was brought in only in the latter half of the season, and the Uttarakhand bowler, who had only played tennis-ball cricket until 2018, was a revelation. His high pace coupled with pinpoint accuracy made him Rohit Sharma's go-to bowler at the death. Madhwal finished with 14 wickets, joint-second for Mumbai this season, which included a best of 5 for 5 in the Eliminator. His death-overs economy of 8.38 was the fourth best among bowlers who bowled at least ten overs in that phase this season.

Among the overseas players, their big-money signing Cameron Green proved that he was a solid investment for the future. The 23-year-old allrounder scored 452 runs at a strike rate of 160.28 despite being moved up and down the batting order, and took six wickets as well.

The bad - Injured fast bowlers and misfiring openers

Mumbai had lost Jofra Archer to injury last season. This year they first lost Jasprit Bumrah, Jhye Richardson and then Archer once again to injuries that left their bowling attack severely depleted. Though Jason Behrendorff was able to provide some power in the powerplay, Mumbai's death bowling suffered big time - their economy of 12.44 in that phase was the highest. They conceded 200-plus in four successive matches between April 22 and May 3, with the last four overs going for 65, 70, 59 and 62.

Poor returns from their openers Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan further hampered Mumbai's campaign. Kishan had only three half-centuries and five scores in the range of 28 to 38. His strike rate and average against spin (133.07 and 21.12) were significantly lower than those against pace (149.21 and 40.71). Rohit scored less than 400 runs for the fourth consecutive season. While his intent to attack from the start was evident - his strike rate of 132.80 was his best since IPL 2018 - he did not make much of an impact.

Top performer - Piyush Chawla

After spending IPL 2022 in the commentary box, Piyush Chawla made a comeback and enjoyed his most prolific season ever - taking 22 wickets. His performance helped ease Mumbai's bowling problems to an extent. Chawla took the second-most wickets among spinners this season, and fronted up to bowl ten overs in the powerplay, with an economy of 8.30.

The highlights

  • Suryakumar Yadav started the season poorly but eventually turned it around in spectacular fashion. He finished with 605 runs, the second most by a Mumbai batter in a season - at a strike rate of 181.13. He scored 539 in his last 11 games with only one single-digit score - only Shubman Gill scored more in that period.

  • Mumbai scored 200-plus totals six times, the most by a team in a season. However, they also conceded six 200-plus totals, the most in a season.

  • Madhwal's figures of 5 for 5 in the Eliminator were the best by a bowler in playoffs and the joint-most economical figures in the IPL.