Five titles in six attempts is the statistic that best underlines Mumbai Indians’ dominance of the Indian Premier League. Having reached the final for the first time in 2010 and losing it to Chennai Super Kings, there have been five more finals: 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020. Under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, all five of these resulted in wins.
As Kieron Pollard said after the IPL 2020 final on Tuesday, you would struggle to find a better T20 side in world cricket at the moment. Mumbai Indians are a franchise, to put it simply, like no other.
And their win in IPL 2020 was perhaps their most dominant in the tournament’s history. While they have either had to go through rollercoaster campaigns in the past or be pushed all the way to their limits in the finals, 2020 witnessed MI reach another level. Once the customary first-match defeat of the season was set aside, they coasted their way to the title in Dubai on Tuesday.
Just like 2019, as coach Mahela Jayawardene pointed out in the dressing room, MI’s triumph was one of teamwork married with individual brilliance. Players were assigned specific roles, and the team’s interests always took precedence. For the second season running, MI were champions without having the leading run-scorer or wicket-taker or the Most Valuable Player of the tournament in their ranks.
Here’s a look at some of the areas where MI were significantly ahead of the pack:
The Kishan-Pollard-Pandya factor
In a format like T20, sixes are not just a major source of the entertainment, they often end up deciding match-results. Many teams plan and train specifically to maximise their six-hitting potential and this season Mumbai Indians just took it to another level. Five of the top ten six-hitters of the season were MI players.
And top of the chart was Ishan Kishan, in perhaps the most interesting candidate to have taken up that position in the 13 years of IPL.
Top 10 six-hitters of IPL 2020
|Player||Innings||Strike Rate||Sixes hit|
|AB de Villiers||14||158.74||23|
|Quinton de Kock||16||140.50||22|
While Kishan topped the charts for number of sixes, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard were striking sixes at will, almost at the rate of one every over they were in the middle. Jofra Archer had an anomaly of a season with the bat, hitting 10 sixes in 63 balls faced but Pandya and Pollard did it much more consistently as batsmen of their calibre are expected to.
Best rates of six-hitting in IPL 2020
|Player||Inns||BF||SR||6s||Balls faced per six|
It is no wonder then that Pollard and Pandya had stunning strikes-rates over the course of the season. Pandya was second in this list in 2019, and finished third in 2020.
Best strike-rates of the season
It was not just about the sixes, either. Even in the list of fours hit, MI made their presence felt thanks mainly due to the brilliance of Suryakumar Yadav.
Top 10 four-hitters of IPL 2020
|Quinton de Kock||16||140.50||46|
|Faf du Plessis||13||140.75||42|
Best rates of four-hitting in IPL 2020
|Player||Inns||BF||SR||4s||Balls per fours hit|
Lightning Boult strikes
Brought into the side in the offseason from Delhi Capitals, no one might have expected Trent Boult to have the kind of impact he ended up having. For starters, it was by some distance Boult’s best season in the tournament.
Trent Boult in IPL
Twenty-five wickets is in itself a superb tally for the season, but when 16 of those come in the Powerplay, it’s a stunning return as Boult almost always guaranteed a flying start to his side.
Coach Mahela Jayawardene said on Sky Sports podcast that the reason Mumbai wanted to bring in Trent Boult in the trading window was because they identified powerplay wickets as something that they needed to improve and he was brought in specifically to bowl there. Just another proof that good teams never stop improving.
No one took more wickets than Boult in the powerplay, of course.
Death overs batting / bowling
The final might have been won in the powerplay overs of the two innings, but the tournament was won in the death overs by Mumbai.
Scoring rate in overs 16-20
|Batting team||Fours hit||Sixes hit||RPO|
Bowling RPO in overs 16-20
Bumrah and dot-ball pressure
One of the commentary cliches in T20 is “dot balls are gold dust.” There is a significant measure of truth to it, too. Teams typically identify the main opposition threats and tend to play them out safely. But even then, the pressure that the elite bowlers build through dot balls is paramount in this format.
And this is where Jasprit Bumrah showed his class (apart from running Kagiso Rabada close in the Purple Cap race, of course.)
Most dot balls bowled in IPL 2020
Percentage of dot balls bowled in IPL 2020
|Player||Inns||Overs bowled||Wkts||Dots||SR||% of dot balls|
A settled team
In a season where many players started off with rustiness and / or faced injuries, therefore forcing teams to experiment with their combinations, it is an absolutely remarkable statistic that Mumbai Indians used only FIFTEEN different players over the course of 16 matches. And even among that, Dhawal Kulkarni played just one game when Jasprit Bumrah was rested in an inconsequential last league match.
Here’s a look at how many players teams had to use during the course of IPL 2020, which tells a story in itself:
No of players used during IPL 2020
|Team||No of different players used|
|CSK, DC, KXIP||20|