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Mumbai Indians & IPL titles – A tale of bizarre coincidences

On 13th May 2019, Mumbai Indians became the most successful franchise in the history of IPL. They clinched their fourth title, triumphing over Chennai Super Kings by 1 run in what was a pulsating finale. In the battle of the two 3-time champions, it was the Mumbai Paltan that held their nerves better at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.

The victory meant that Mumbai ended up sealing each of their IPL title wins in alternate odd years – 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. This remarkable feat is only one of the few coincidences that outline Mumbai Indians’ successful run in IPL history. Mumbai have retained their strongest core group for most of the past 5-6 seasons. This has undoubtedly played a big role in their success over the years and some of the performers have been ever-present in their journey.

Here, we take a look at a few other bizarre coincidences in MI’s four IPL triumphs:

Bat first in a final? Check!

Mumbai Indians

All of MI’s four victories have come batting first in the final encounter. There’s an old tradition in cricket that you always bat first in a big match, put runs on the board and apply the pressure on the opposition. In all of MI’s triumphs, MI have batted first, becoming the masters of defending a target.

Champions at Defending

Mumbai Indians have also become quite adept at defending low scores in finals. This has unarguably been aided by some world-class bowlers in their unit. MI have had the luxury of having some great bowlers like Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Harbhajan Singh and Jasprit Bumrah over the years.

Mumbai Indians

In their first IPL triumph in 2013, Mumbai only managed to put up a score of 148/9 on the board. But a collective bowling effort saw them restrict Chennai to 125/9 in Kolkata.

In 2017, there was a similar scenario as the batting unit was underwhelming against Rising Pune Supergiant, scoring only 129/9. The bowlers then rose like a phoenix and in a heroic effort, restricted RPS to 128/6. Last year as well, the batting unit set up a mediocre target of 150 for CSK to chase. But the Bumrah-led bowling unit did their jobs exceptionally well, restricting Chennai to 148/7.

The only time when MI’s batting unit has fired on all fronts in the final has been in 2015 when they scored 202/5.

Cometh the hour, cometh the big man!

Caribbean all-rounder Kieron Pollard has been a vital cog in the Mumbai setup, being one of their star performers during a sustained period of success. Pollard has had a big role to play with the bat, in three of Mumbai’s four triumphs.

Mumbai Indians

In the 2013 final, it was his blazing 32-ball 60 that allowed Mumbai to reach a respectable score. Again in 2015 when MI again triumphed CSK, Pollard’s quickfire 36 off 18 deliveries in the death overs enabled MI to post a big score. Pollard once again came to the forefront in the 2019 final, playing a crucial knock of 41 in just 25 deliveries to allow Mumbai to put up a competitive score on the board. Clearly, a man for the big occasions.

MI love to give their fans a jitter!

Mumbai’s last two wins in the IPL finals have been edge-of-the-seat thrillers, leaving their fans praying for a miracle. In the 2017 final at Hyderabad, Mumbai hung in there by a thread to defend a low score against RPS. The Pune-based outfit required 11 runs off the final over, when Mitchell Johnson stepped up to deliver. The Australian somehow managed to restrict the opposition, with MI eventually sealing the win by a single run.

Mumbai Indians

In 2019, at the same venue, the odds were stacked against the Mumbai Indians as they needed to defend 9 runs in the final over. The legendary Lasith Malinga then stepped up. Despite having a torrid time in the match, the Sri Lankan used all the experience at his disposal and defended the low target, with Mumbai again winning by 1 run. Talk about giving their fans the jitters!

When Warner fires, Mumbai wins…

There is a weird connection going on between David Warner piling on the runs and Mumbai clinching IPL trophies. In Mumbai’s last three IPL victories, it has been the Australian who has walked away with the Orange Cap for being the highest run-scorer in the tournament.

SRH

In 2015, Warner scored 562 runs in 14 games and Mumbai ended up beating Chennai in the final. The trend continued in 2017 when Warner was once again the top-scorer with 641 runs in 14 matches. The same year Mumbai beat Pune in the final. In 2019, Warner made a comeback in the IPL and so did Mumbai after an average season the previous year. Warner won the Orange Cap for scoring 692 runs in 12 games. As for Mumbai, you all know how the story goes…. and to imagine, Warner has not played a single game for MI!

Multiple title wins at the same venue

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai have a special connection with the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. Mumbai’s first two IPL victories against CSK in 2013 and 2015 came at the iconic venue in Kolkata. They have then gone on to forge a special connection with the stadium in Hyderabad, beating RPS at the venue in 2017 and CSK in 2019.

Familiar faces in Playoffs

In all the four seasons that MI have triumphed, they have faced off against the same team in both Qualifier 1 and the final. They squared up against CSK on both the occasions in 2013, losing the Qualifier but then going on to win the final. In 2015, again coming up against CSK, MI had better fortunes as they triumphed over their arch-rivals in both the Qualifier and the final.

MI CSK

During the 2017 season, Rising Pune Supergiant were Mumbai’s opponents. The score here was 1-1 as RPS won the Qualifier but Mumbai managed to win the big one. Last season as well, Mumbai faced off against Chennai in both the big matches, emerging victorious on both occasions. In fact, Mumbai held an unblemished 4-0 record against their biggest rivals in the 2019 edition.

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