“Follow your dreams. Dreams do come true”Sachin Tendulkar (Former Indian Cricketer, often referred to as “God of Cricket”)
Along with being the national sport of India, cricket is religion. And Sachin Tendulkar, synonymous to the Almighty. The journey of this sport became even more enticing when it was added to the fantasy genre.
Yes, we are talking about the fantasy cricket concept that has fuelled up the actionable game. The transition hasn’t happened overnight but there is a story of how this idea took shape. So, let’s get started.
What’s The Tiny Tale Behind The Origin Of The Game Of Skill?
Fantasy cricket is a game of skill introduced to in the 21st century that lets people build their virtual teams by using their analytical strengths. Based on the performances of those players the participants score points and the one with maximum points wins eventually. Our country is still catching up with the fantasy sports genre but cricket being immensely popular has earned a spot in the list of most popular fantasy games.
How IPL Became The Key Driver To Amp-up The Cricket Fantasy Game Plan? Also, Is Mumbai Indians The Best In The IPL Business?
Particularly in India, the Indian Premier League is the most esteemed Twenty-Twenty cricket tournament that was kicked-off in 2007 and the first-ever season was aired in the next year. The championship comprises eight cricket teams and is played according to the knockout format.
Each of the eight franchises is owned by renowned entrepreneurs, Bollywood celebrities, and other notable people. But the one squad which has been in the limelight since the beginning is Mumbai Indians the gems with the record for winning the maximum IPL titles. Also, the team has reached the finals five times in the tournament.
Don’t you want to walk through the journey of these cricket stars?
The powerful and efficient team was born in 2008 and is owned by the nation’s biggest industrialist Reliance Group. The present coach of the Mumbai Indians team is the classic Sri Lankan batsman with the finest acumen for the game Mahela Jayawardene.
The strong ownership and mentorship have helped the squad has earned an image of the most consistent team of the Indian Premier League. Legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Ricky Ponting made the squad even more powerful and efficient. In spite of a robust foundation, the IPL journey of this team has been a wheel of fortune. Let’s have a look at their interesting voyage:
Were The Initial Seasons 2008 & 2009 Tough For MI?
The squad was loaded with some of the best cricket icons before the inaugural IPL season kicked-off. They had Sachin as the skipper and Lalchand Rajput as the mentor but destiny had some other plans as the former got injured due to which Harbhajan took over the team’s captaincy.
This turmoil led the Mumbai Indians team to a bad start and they lost four consecutive games. To the top of it, Bhajji was suspended for slapping Sreesanth and the South African cricket sensation Shaun Pollock became the new leader. Witnessing so many turbulences the team finished fifth in the IPL standings.
In the subsequent season, the skipper took retirement and accepted the position of the head coach for the squad. Also, MI traded two of their players Robin Uthappa and Ashish Nehra and added Zaheer Khan and Shikhar Dhawan to the team. Sachin was back to the ground and Malinga also joined the squad but MI managed to grab the seventh position in the table.
How Mumbai Indians Started Rising From The Ashes In 2010 – 2013 IPL Seasons?
In the 2010 IPL tournament, MI bought the aggressive all-rounder Pollard and Robin Singh was made the head coach. Pollock took the role of the bowling mentor and they won seven of their initial eight matches. However, they faced a defeat in the finals against the Chennai Super Kings team but their excellent performance earned them entry to the 2010 Champions League Twenty-Twenty.
MI welcomed the 2011 IPL season by adding the batting star Rohit Sharma to the squad. Also, Munaf Patel and Andrew Symonds were new additions in the team to enhance efficiency. The squad won eight of the first ten league matches but managed to finish at the play-offs. Munaf Patel and Lasith Malinga were named as the top wicket-takers for the season.
Sachin’s stepping down from the captaincy came as a shock for the 2012 Indian Premier League’s start. Harbhajan was named as the full-time skipper and the squad welcomed new players such as Mitchell Jonson, Thisara Perera. MI struggled in the first half of the championship but they performed well in the remaining second half and finished at the third spot in the table.
The 2013 IPL season saw a couple of the biggest changes in the MI squad when the evergreen cricketer Anil Kumble took over the role of the chief mentor and Rohit was appointed as the caption. Also, Sachin and Jonty Rhodes were keeping the backbone of the team intact with the help of their expert insights. As a result, the team came through as the champion with flying colors and grabbed their first-ever IPL trophy.
What Lessons Did MI Learnt By Participating In The IPL Seasons 2015 – 2019?
After a victorious season of 2013, the MI squad was at the peak for the next championship of 2014. But unfortunately, the start was really poor for the team and they somehow managed to reach the play-offs but lost the same against CSK.
The 2015 IPL tournament proved to be another great season for Mumbai Indians as they defeated one of the IPL giants CSK in the finals. Simmons, Rohit Sharma, Malinga, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, and Pollard along with the other players led the team to victory. Simmons was the superstar as he scored six half-centuries in the tournament.
Krunal Pandya joined the squad for the 2016 season but the team didn’t perform up to the mark and finished in fifth place in the table. In the subsequent season, they emerged as the winners by beating Rising Pune Supergiants in an immensely exciting final match. Bumrah and Parthiv Patel were named as the top performers for the season.
In the Indian Premier League 2018 season the MI squad earned the fifth spot but what they did in the VIVO IPL 2019 finals was splendid. The team defeated CSK by 1 run and grabbed the title for the fourth time to earn the recognition as the team with the maximum IPL trophies.
What Are Some Other Records The Team Has Earned In The IPL Till Date?
Along with the title of one of the most successful IPL teams MI players have made a few other records that are worth looking at. Let’s explore a couple of these:
- The marquee player Sachin holds the record for grabbing most catches in a single match in 2008 against KKR.
- The deadly Yorker deliverer Malinga holds the record for taking maximum wickets in the tournament’s history.
- The MI squad has earned the title of playing the maximum number of matches in the IPL championship.
- The team made the record of winning a match with the highest margin of 146 runs against Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2017 season.
Wankhede Stadium, The Home Ground of Mumbai Indians
Built in 1975, the Wankhede Stadium is the home ground of Mumbai Indians. With a seating capacity of 33,000 this stadium has witnessed numerous nail-biting matches and drama. It is one amongst the most iconic must-visit places in Mumbai.
Who Are The Real Heroes Of This Enthralling Journey & Amazing Records?
Cherry-picking a few of this amazing squad would be completely unfair but we have tried to highlight a few gems who have made MI proud consistently. Let’s have a glimpse of them in detail:
The Hitman: Rohit Sharma
Rohit has been a part of the squad thrice when they captured the title. His journey with the team where he transitioned from a player to the skipper has been commendable. He is famous for his aggressive batting style and made his only IPL century (109*) against KKR in the 2012 season.
The Controversies Favorite Child: Harbhajan Singh
The legendary spinner played for MI from 2008 to 2017 where he took 127 wickets in 136 matches. His amazing bowling skills made him a hot-favorite of Mumbai Indians fans.
The Sterling All-rounder: Kirron Pollard
This Trinidadian all-rounder entered the MI squad in 2010 after his excellent performance in the 2009 CLT Twenty-Twenty championship. Being blessed with an agile physique, he took 56 wickets and scored 2476 runs in 132 matches played for IPL Mumbai Indians.
The Best IPL Bowler: Lasith Malinga
This Sri Lankan pacer has been the backbone for the MI bowling line-up and grabbed 154 wickets in 110 matches he played. In the 2011 Indian Premier League season he earned the purple cap but after 2018 he is mentoring the bowlers of the squad.
What’s The MI Scene For The 2020 IPL?
The defending IPL champions have extended their squad and made it even better for the 2020 season. They have retained cricket gems like Rohit Sharma, Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, etc. Players like Yuvraj Sing, Adam Milne, Beuran Hendricks, and a couple of more were released. This change has made a room for five slots which will be filled in the auction to be held in December 2019 where the team can add two foreign and five domestic players.
Is MI Leading The Fantasy Landscape As Well?
Being the king of IPL, MI has made a huge fan-following among the fantasy cricket fans as well. Mobile Premier League (MPL) is a renowned eSports platform that allows participants to play fantasy cricket online by picking some of their favorite Mumbai Indians gems and building a virtual team.
Overall, the journey of the Mumbai Indians team has been a roller-coaster ride full of action and drama. Undoubtedly, they have grown from a poor performing squad to the maximum title holders in an amazing manner. Now, all eyes are set on the 2020 IPL season where these cricket stars are expected to showcase their finest batting and bowling talent.