The term “baap of IPL” or the IPL godfather is generally used to address the most successful team in the tournament over the past 13 seasons. From the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to Mumbai Indians (MI), captained by Rohit Sharma, the Indian Premier League has had three teams who have won the tournament multiple times. However, it is the Mumbai Indians team who are called the baap of IPL for their insanely successful IPL history.
Why are Mumbai Indians called the baap of IPL?
Mumbai Indians have always had one of the biggest fanbases among all IPL teams given the cricket-crazy city the franchise represents. However, despite having legendary Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, and others, the team failed to win the IPL trophy until the sixth IPL season in 2013.
Though Mumbai Indians remained a star-studded IPL team for most of the initial few years of the Indian Premier League, they were not regular title contenders barring the 2010 edition when they had reached the final. The most successful team at that time was Chennai Super Kings led by the then Indian captain MS Dhoni.
However, Mumbai Indians saw their fortunes change for the better since 2011 when their think-tank learnt from their competition and moved away from recruiting superstars to fill the stands. Since then, MI have gone on to win the tournament five times in eight attempts. With as many as five titles to their name, MI are rightly known as the baap of IPL.
How Mumbai Indians became the baap of IPL
|Year||Winner||Vs Opponent||Win Margin||Venue|
|2013||Mumbai Indians||Chennai Super Kings||Won by 23 runs||Eden Gardens|
|2015||Mumbai Indians||Chennai Super Kings||Won by 41 runs||Eden Gardens|
|2017||Mumbai Indians||Rising Pune Supergiant||Won by 1 run||Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium|
|2019||Mumbai Indians||Chennai Super Kings||Won by 1 run||Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium|
|2020||Mumbai Indians||Delhi Capitals||Won by 5 wickets||Dubai International Cricket Stadium|
It is quite evident that Mumbai’s archrivals throughout their journey have been Chennai Super Kings, who have faced Mumbai in three of their five IPL final matches. However, while CSK should be applauded for their unparalleled consistency in the tournament over the years, it is MI who have been the most clinical when it mattered the most.
Apart from the 2010 IPL final match, where they lost to CSK, MI have beaten Chennai on all the other finals. MI also hold the record for winning most IPL final matches – five out of six played – as opposed to CSK who have played eight IPL finals and won just thrice.
The biggest thorn in Mumbai’s way during this time has been MS Dhoni. The Indian cricketer, who has won the T20 ICC World Cup, the ICC ODI World Cup as well as the ICC Champions Trophy with the Indian national team, has faced Mumbai in six IPL finals with two different teams. The 2017 IPL final had seen MS Dhoni leading Rising Pune Supergiant against Mumbai Indians and losing to the five-time IPL champions by the barest of margins.
What makes Mumbai Indians the baap of IPL in the truest sense is their dominance spanning almost a decade. Since the start of the IPL, numerous teams have had a domineering run for few seasons. While MS Dhoni captained CSK to two consecutive IPL trophy wins in 2010 and 2011 and reached the playoffs 10 times so far, Gambhir’s KKR won the title in 2012 and 2014 while managing a playoff finish in 2011 and 2013 as well. The likes of Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and David Warner have also peaked from time to time to snatch the title with Deccan Chargers, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. But, none of them could become as consistent as MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma.
There are many ways to win the IPL, but the prerequisite for all of them is having a good captain. And until Mumbai had handed Rohit Sharma the captaincy in 2013, they couldn’t compete with Chennai, who had hit the jackpot with MS Dhoni from the very beginning. IPL’s rich history is largely a testament to the relentless duel between MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma, more popularly known as El Clasico of IPL – the IPL match between MI and CSK. MS Dhoni holds numerous records in IPL as a wicket-keeper and a finisher, but he will always be known for being the best captain in IPL history despite Sharma clinching more titles than Dhoni.
However, what makes MI the baap of IPL over CSK is their approach towards the tournament. MI have always been about the team regardless of the players. Over the years, Sachin Tendulkar, Lasith Malinga, Dwayne Bravo and others have either changed teams or retired from the game, with rising stars like Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and others replacing them. And Mumbai will continue to contest for the IPL title long after Rohit Sharma’s retirement as well.
The same couldn’t be said about CSK though, who lives and breathes MS Dhoni. The wicket-keeper batsman is the light who has guided the team from behind the stumps for over a decade. Life for CSK after Dhoni remains a doubt as the squad would need a major revamp with numerous experienced heads hanging their boots in the coming future.