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The best of Mumbai Indians at the UAE

The Men in Blue and Gold’s tryst with UAE didn’t quite get off on the right foot. Way back in 2014, when the IPL was played there for the first time, MI lost all the five games on foreign soil that year, before saving themselves from an elimination with an iconic Aditya Tare six.

Cut to 2020, amends were made beautifully when the team won a very dominating season of the IPL, breaking the even year jinx, becoming the first team to win two consecutive years, and winning the IPL trophy a record fifth time.

When IPL 2021 came to a premature halt due to COVID 19, BCCI made a follow-up announcement to move the remainder of the tournament to the UAE. MI has had some great memories in the UAE so far. Let’s journey through the biggest wins the team has savoured across UAE grounds.

Win by 10 wickets vs CSK, Sharjah

Against a big opposition, a big win is always sweet. However, the collapse CSK endured was not a slight trip-and-fall, but a massive one. It was anchored by MI’s powerplay specialist Trent Boult, who registered his best bowling figures of 4/18 in that game.

CSK lost five wickets in the first six overs and never recovered from it. They posted 114/9 in 20 overs. MI openers Quinton de Kock (46*) and Ishan Kishan (68*) anchored the team to a 10-wicket win.

Win by 9 wickets vs DC, Dubai

At this point in the tournament, MI was already through to the playoffs. In the team’s penultimate league game, the Men in Blue and Gold scripted a commanding 9-wicket win over DC. The masters of destruction here were Jasprit Bumrah (3/17) and Trent Boult (3/21), who wrecked chaos through DC’s strong batting order, restricting them to 110/9.

However, it was an Ishan Kishan special (72*) that gave MI the 9-wicket win. While his fellow opener Quinton de Kock departed for 28, Surya came in and scored 12* to finish it off with Ishan.

Win by 57 runs vs RR, Abu Dhabi

An under-fire RR had the pressure on them to perform well. MI, coming from consecutive wins, were riding on confidence, and played on this very pressure to register a thumping win. Batting first, MI scored 193/4 in 20 overs, on an Abu Dhabi pitch that had an average first inning score of 165, riding on Surya’s excellent 79* (47).

Despite Jos Buttler’s 70 (44), RR struggled to stay steady in the chase and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Once again, Bumrah went Boom Boom on all cylinders, scalping 4 while giving away just 20 runs. Boult and James Pattinson helped themselves to two wickets each, cleaning up the RR batters for 136 in 18.1 overs.

Win by 57 runs vs DC, Dubai

Being the first qualifier, the winner of this game got a direct ticket to the final, and MI, with a clinical performance, showed why it belonged to their team. Putting up 200/5 in 20 overs, MI rode on a complete team effort - de Kock’s 40 (25), Surya’s 51 (38), Ishan’s 55* (30) and Hardik’s 37* (14).

The bowlers then decided to finish off the job at hand without giving the Paltan a reason to worry. The top three batters went for ducks, and all rounder Daniel Sams too later in the game. Other than Stoinis (65) and a surprise innings from Axar Patel (42), none of the others got going. Bumrah registered his best bowling figures of 4/14, and Boult picked up two to reduce DC to 143/8 and slide into the final.

Win by 8 wickets vs KKR, Abu Dhabi

In the second encounter with the team in that tournament, MI won convincingly by 8 wickets. Despite a late firing from Pat Cummins with a 53* (36), KKR could only manage 148/5 in 20 overs because of some tight bowling for Chahar (2 wickets, economy rate of 4.50), Bumrah (1 wicket, economy rate of 5.50) and Krunal Pandya (economy rate of 5.75).

MI opener de Kock scored a sublime 78* (44) and with ample help from Rohit’s 35 and Hardik’s 21* (11) in the end, finished the game with ease. The Men in Blue and Gold chased down 149 in just 16.5 overs with 8 wickets in hand.

Win by 49 runs vs KKR, Abu Dhabi

In the first encounter against KKR in IPL 2020, MI scripted a solid 49-run win. Riding on captain Rohit Sharma’s 80 (54), and aided ably by Surya’s 47 (28), MI put up a score of 195/5 in 20 overs. The record against KKR had been great in IPL so far (19:6 win to loss ratio for MI), and MI looked to keep up the same.

After the openers fell early, Dinesh Karthik’s 30 and Nitish Rana’s 24 looked to stabilise the chase before they fell to Chahar and Pollard respectively. A late effort from Cummins - 33 (12) - did not suffice as the other batters fell regularly, eventually putting up 146/9 in 20 overs. Boult, Pattinson, Bumrah and Chahar got two wickets each with Polly getting one. All in all, a total team effort left KKR no chance of a win.

Despite starting off on the wrong foot in 2014, MI made the UAE their own in 2020. After all, sensational comebacks are written in the team’s blood, and starting off wrong hasn’t bothered the Men in Blue and Gold anyway!

We are looking forward to the team heading to the UAE to play the remainder of the IPL 2021 games in September-October, later this year.