Let's cut to the chase, anyone who has been a cricket fan knows that Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL team of all time. Well, the Chennai Super Kings fans can argue they have a claim at it but the numbers suggest otherwise. Today we talk about the journey of Mumbai Indians.
The Indian Premier League is in its sixteenth edition with top superstars from all over the world and promising local talent competing for higher honours. IPL has reached a level of popularity and brand value only a few leagues across sports can match. One of the major reasons for that is the success and rivalry of two of its biggest franchises Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
MS Dhoni's CSK have won four titles in the IPL and have been the most consistent team in the league. They have reached the playoffs in all but two of the seasons they have played in. Rohit Sharma's MI, on the other hand, have five IPL trophies so let's talk about them.
Mumbai Indians: IPL Results
Mumbai Indians have been part of the league since its inception and they have had a rollercoaster ride. They had a couple of bad years to begin before making some progress. It took them six seasons to win their maiden IPL title but went on to claim five in eight years. Here's a look at Mumbai Indians' results in each of the IPL editions.
Beginning of the Empire
The year was 2013. Mumbai Indians brought in the most successful international captain Ricky Ponting and handed him the reins. Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar opened the innings, and plenty of stars in the side. MI started well with three wins in the first four games but lost the next two by heavy margins.
Ponting blocking an overseas spot was hampering the team badly so he stepped down, handing over the captaincy to Rohit Sharma. Mumbai Indians made a decision that would change the league forever. They paired Lasith Malinga with another overseas pacer Mitchell Johnson and the pair ran riot in the league. MI made this ‘two overseas pacers' strategy their biggest strength and tasted so much success over the years that other franchises have started using it in the last few years.
Mumbai Indians went on to win eight out of the next 10 matches in the league since Rohit's appointment as the captain and secured the second spot on the table.
They lost to the Super Kings in Qualifier 1 but finishing in the top two allowed them another shot at the final. They made the most of it, defeating Rajasthan Royals by four wickets to set up a meeting with CSK.
In the final, they were 4 for 52 in 9.3 overs before Kieron Pollard smashed an unbeaten 60 off 32 to take MI to a fighting total of 148/9. Malinga and Johnson then ripped apart the CSK top order, reducing them to 39 for 6. The duo, along with Harbhajan Singh, picked two wickets each as they restricted Chennai to 125/9 to lift their maiden IPL trophy.
This was Tendulkar's final IPL season and the team gave him a fitting farewell, winning not only the IPL trophy but also the Champions League T20 later in the year.
Odd-year Mumbai Indians
Since 2013, Mumbai Indians had a tendency to peak in odd years and be ordinary in even years. So much so that there were jokes in the cricket community and even a commercial featuring Rohit Sharma.
After winning their first title, the men in blue and gold had a terrible start to the IPL 2014 where they lost their first five games. They made a remarkable comeback, winning seven out of the next nine matches to reach the playoffs. In their final group fixture, MI needed to chase 190 in 14.3 overs against Rajasthan Royals to surpass them on net run rate. In a dramatic finish, Mumbai hammered 195 in 14.4 overs to get the job done. However, the high of this game was cut short after they lost the Eliminator to CSK and were knocked out.
In IPL 2015, they struggled to warm their engines yet again, losing five of their first six matches. And for the third year in a row, they fought back from the poor start by winning seven of the remaining eight games to secure second place on the points table.
Unlike in 2013, MI defeated the Super Kings in Qualifier 1 to head straight into the final. The two teams met again in the final, where MI posted 202 on the back of Rohit Sharma and Lendl Simmons' fifties. They claimed a comfortable victory by 41 runs to clinch the second title.
Mumbai Indians had an average season in IPL 2016, finishing fifth on the table. They won seven matches in the group stage and fell one win short of the playoffs.
In IPL 2017, the Mumbai franchise were outstanding in the group stage where they won 10 matches and topped the table. They lost Qualifier 1 against Rising Pune Supergiant before hammering Kolkata Knight Riders in Qualifier 2 to reach the final. Defending a low total of 129, Mumbai Indians held off RPS by one run in a thrilling finish.
In the 2018 season, MI had the best net run rate at the end of the group stage and all they needed to reach the playoffs was a win in the final group fixture but they couldn't get the job done.
Rohit Sharma's men topped the group stage yet again in IPL 2019 with nine wins. They registered a comfortable win over the Super Kings in Qualifier 1 to make it to another final. It was a dramatic final, with Mumbai Indians claiming another one-run victory in the final.
Consecutive titles to become the most successful IPL team
Mumbai Indians had won four titles by 2020 but their best was yet to come. 2018-21 was the golden generation of Mumbai Indians. They are the greatest T20 side ever assembled. And they did not disappoint. IPL 2020 was perhaps the most dominant season by a team en route to defending their title.
They won nine matches in the group stage to top the table, with two of their defeats coming in the super overs. It wasn't the number of wins that was impressive but the margins of their victories that truly highlighted their dominance. MI had a stunning net run rate of 1.107 at the end of the group stage.
Their dominance didn't stop at the group stage. They went on to obliterate Delhi Capitals by 57 runs in Qualifier 1. MI took control of the final versus the same Delhi side from the get go and chased down 157 with five wickets and eight balls to spare.
The five-time champions have had a couple of bad years since then but they have a good core to rebuild their side.