We are proud to call The Wankhede Stadium our home. The ground has been a part of India and Mumbai’s cricketing heritage since 1975. It hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup Final in 2011 and has witnessed legends like Vijay Merchant, Sunil Gavaskar, and Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar progress from their early days and make a name for themselves in various eras of cricketing history. Every game we play here gets the best out of each player that dons the Mumbai colours.
Mumbai Indians are one of the most followed franchises in the IPL, both in India and abroad. The reason behind this is simple – its cricketing legacy, graced by legends from various countries! Sanath Jayasuriya, Ricky Ponting, Shaun Pollock and Sachin Tendulkar have all been part of the MI family, to name a few. Following in their footsteps are the current crop of superstars and budding cricketers, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, among others, to add to Mumbai Indians’ rich legacy.
The Opening Spell
In a testing first season, head coach Lalchand Rajput led the team to a fifth-place finish, overcoming initial challenges to fall short of the knockout stage by just a single point. Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, and Shaun Pollock, each captained the team at some stage in the tournament, which ended with seven wins and seven losses. The Matara Mauler, Sanath Jayasuriya, ended up hitting the maximum number of 6s (31) in the tournament, 5 more than the next best. He was also the third highest run-getter in the season.
The second season, played in South Africa in 2009, proved to be a harsher test for the MI battalion. Shaun Pollock retired from the team to take over as the new head coach and Zaheer Khan was included to partner Lasith Malinga in the bowling department. These changes, along with foreign conditions, didn’t allow the squad to get into its groove. Sachin Tendulkar and JP Duminy’s batting, along with Malinga’s bowling efforts emerged as the highlights for our team. A seventh-place finish marked a forgettable season, but with it, we gained valuable lessons which formed the basis for success in the upcoming years.
Mumbai Indians shrugged off the disappointments of the first two seasons, to come close to lifting the coveted IPL trophy, in 2010. The team lost to Chennai in the final, despite a brilliant knock of 48 by skipper Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster won the Orange Cap, with a tally of 618 runs over the season. Mumbai set their highest total ever in the IPL; 218/7 in this edition, against the Delhi Daredevils, when Tendulkar scored 63 runs. It was in this season that the team acquired a crucial element in their squad, one of the most dynamic all-rounders in T20 history: Kieron Pollard.
The Middle Overs
Mumbai Indians decided to go back to the drawing board and built a squad that would set a precedent for future team selections. The management, with the view of striking the right combination of youth and experience, successfully bought Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds and Indian pacer Munaf Patel in the auction. Malinga or ‘Slinga’, earned respect amongst fans, due to his flamboyant personality and funky hairdo along with his ability to take wickets at will. Slinga and Munaf finished the season at the top of the wicket-takers’ chart, with 28 and 22 wickets in the season respectively. Tendulkar recorded his highest IPL score, notching up his maiden T20 century against Kochi. The team won four and lost four matches in the first half of 2012. They picked up momentum in the second half of the competition, winning 6 matches and ended up with 20 points to be placed third in the points table.
A fitting farewell for our idol
There is no better farewell than one where you walk away as a champion. That is exactly what the side ensured in 2013, as the team made sure that Sachin Tendulkar’s last season would be marked with its first ever IPL title. "This is my last IPL" were Tendulkar’s words after he made it clear that the world saw the Little Master play in the Indian Premier League for the last time. Additionally, the team also won all its home games this season, a rare feat in a tournament as intense as the IPL. Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson were the leading wicket takers for the team, both managing to capture 24 wickets apiece. Rohit Sharma, who took over as captain from Ricky Ponting in the beginning of the season, won the IPL trophy in his very first attempt.
Winning from behind
Although MI lost its first four games in 2015, in typical Mumbaikar style they fought back and managed to turn around their fortunes, as they won nearly every game en route to the tournament final! Mumbai met Chennai in the final for the third time and we put on a massive 202, batting first. Class acts from the captain. Rohit Sharma (50 runs off 26 balls) and opener Lendl Simmons (68 runs off 45 balls) made sure the team won the match convincingly and were crowned victors for the second time in 3 seasons. Mitchell McClenaghan was the pick of the bowlers in the final, grabbing 3/25, while Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh snared a couple of wickets each. Rohit Sharma was adjudged Man of the Match as he led from the front and steadied the ship after the team lost a wicket in the very first over.
Young players for the future
Mumbai Indians have never been shy of providing deserving players with game experience and opportunities. The players acquired by the team throughout the history of the tournament proves this: Gems in the form of Saurabh Tiwary (2008-2010, 2017-Present), Suryakumar Yadav (2011-2013) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2011-2013) in the past and more recently Shreyas Gopal, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Kulwant Khejroliya, Siddhesh Lad, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma and Krishnappa Gowtham are a testament to a strong youth-culture in our team. This translates to these youngsters having the skills and confidence to step up at crucial junctures in their (and our) future!