Tata IPL 2023 only has two more matches to go, and the MI has remained in the competition. The team started the competition on a rough note, losing key players to auction and injuries. However, the Rohit-led squad did not give up and is now two steps away from lifting its 6th IPL trophy.
MI recently defeated LSG in Chepauk with a massive 81 runs deficit. While everyone was eyeing MI’s batting lineup to win them games, it was Akash Madhwal who took charge in a clutch game. The 29-year-old registered a tally of 5 wickets for 5 runs in 3.3 overs to take MI home.
The Mumbai bowling attack is yet to perform well in the absence of Bumrah and injury-prone Jofra Archer. However, their batting has been on point for the past 7 games. The team has chased down four 200+ scores, becoming the first one to do so in one IPL season. Let’s take a brief look at MI’s journey to IPL 2023 Qualifier 2.
Key Matches and Standout Performances
The MI team has been struggling to gain momentum ever since IPL 2023 started. They lost 4 of their 7 matches, making it look like they would end up at the bottom half of the table.
The team made a complete turnaround against PBKS, where they chased down 215 in 18.5 overs. The cricket match saw Suryakumar Yadav (66 off 31) and Ishan Kishan (75 off 41) finding their form.
After that, MI went on to chase down 200+ totals three more times. In every match, the duo of Suryakumar and Kishan stood out. Sky scored a quick 83 off 35 balls against RCB, while Kishan scored 42 off 21.
Sky struck a century in the next game against GT, helping the team regain confidence. In their do-or-die match, it was Cameron Green (100* off 47) who helped MI chase down 201 in 18 overs only. Despite some subpar performances, Green and Sky have been fan favorites on the best betting sites for cricket.
Thanks to them, MI has carried this momentum to the playoffs, and even its bowling attack is starting to shape up, courtesy of Akash Madhwal.
Team Dynamics and Leadership
MI started IPL 2023 by losing Bumrah while their secondary wicket-taker, Archer, also got injured. The hole left by the duo was enough to break MI’s bowling attack.
However, the MI management kept looking for new options and hit the nail on the head with Piyush Chawla and Akash Madhwal. Both bowlers have helped the team win matches due to the trust put in them by Rohit Sharma and MI management.
Even Tilak Varma has been a great find for MI, as the player is capable of scoring quickly at the end of an inning. Rohit’s captaincy also shone in Eliminator 1 against LSG, where he seamlessly switched bowlers to maintain pressure on LSG.
In fact, several MI players play for the same domestic team and have been part of the franchise for years. Thus, the team dynamics among them work well.
Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned
The biggest challenge for MI in IPL 2023 has been its weak bowling attack. However, the team was also struggling to find rhythm in their batting for the first half of the competition.
Both Rohit and Kishan were struggling at the top while failing to find the right spot for Cameron Green. Even Suryakumar Yadav brought his bad form from international cricket to IPL.
Their struggle stopped, with Kishan starting to fire at every inning’s start. The player was followed by Sky, and gradually, Green followed the duo. It seems that MI has found the balance with Rohit and Ishan opening and Green coming in at 3.
Sky’s form allows him to bat at any position between 3 to 6, giving MI options. Meanwhile, the team can deploy Tim David and Tilak Varma to finish the innings with a flourish.
While the team struggled with Bumrah’s replacement, Madhwal has shown immense talent in middle and death overs. The bowler can bowl consistent yorkers, which he has done on multiple occasions. Piyush Chawla has taken charge of bowling after missing an entire IPL season in 2022.
Fan Support and Impact
MI, along with RCB and CSK, ranks among the most popular IPL teams. Thus, despite the team’s average performance, the fans put their trust in them.
The team has made comebacks at the end of league stages on multiple occasions, and the fans knew it. Their support in Wankhede can only be paralleled by CSK fans in Chennai. That is why the team has made Wankhede their fortress, winning 4 of their 6 games there.
As for the overall number, MI wins 1/3rd of their matches at Wankhede, a number no other team can manage.
Team owner Nita Ambani can be seen attending every match along with Akash Ambani. Mrs. Nita has even started initiatives with fans, inviting 19,000 girls from 36 NGOs to the MI vs. KKR match to celebrate Women in sports. The MI owner’s generosity is one of the reasons why MI fans cheer for the team in every match.
Looking Ahead to Qualifier 2
With GT standing in front of MI, Qualifier 2 is expected to be a massive challenge. However, Mumbai will have a strong mindset against GT, seeing how they won their previous encounter. Also, the pitch at the Narendra Modi stadium favors batsmen, MI’s strong suit.
GT and MI have played two matches in IPL 2023, where both of them won 1 each. GT defeated a struggling MI at the season’s start after scoring 207/6 and restricting MI to 152/9.
In their next encounter, Sky scored a century to score 218/5. In return, GT only managed to reach 191/8 with Rashid Khan’s heroic 79* runs.
On paper, GT is a much more balanced team, but MI has shown the caliber to defeat them. The biggest challenge for MI would be the in-form Shubhman Gill. The player has scored 2 centuries and is in impeccable touch.
In bowling, MI would want to survive Rashid Khan in the middle overs. If they achieve both, MI has a decent chance of defeating GT on a batting-friendly pitch.
The Mumbai Indians have reached Qualifier 2 in IPL 2023 despite their shaky start. The team gained momentum mid-tournament after its batting started firing on all cylinders.
Now, MI has set the record for chasing down four 200+ totals in 1 season. Madhwal’s recent 5-hauler has solidified the team’s confidence in their bowling as they look ahead to playing GT.
The rivalry between MI and GT is also apparent, given the unofficial feud between Hardik Pandya and MI management. The ex-MI player will look forward to playing a decent knock against them. The winner of the match will meet CSK at the finals, which will surely be a massive game. Seeing how well-adjusted both teams are, Qualifier 2 is expected to be a thriller from start to end.