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IPL 2018: Can Mumbai Indians pull off the Houdini act again?

Mumbai Indians are off to a terrible start in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 but as 2014 and 2015 showed, Rohit Sharma’s team has a knack of bringing out their best when down and out

cricket Updated: Apr 26, 2018 00:14 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2018,Mumbai Indians,Indian Premier League
Mumbai Indians have won just one match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 season.(AFP)

Three-times Indian Premier League (IPL) winners Mumbai Indians are back on familiar turf.

Tuesday’s embarrassing defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad after a batting slump was Mumbai Indians’ fifth in six matches, leaving Rohit Sharma’s team gasping for revival.

Mumbai Indians need not look elsewhere for inspiration for they know the way out. Be it their poor start in the inaugural 2008 IPL, or in 2015 when they won for the second time despite losing five out of the first six games, they have repeatedly defied the odds.

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The IPL editions of 2013, 2014, and even 2015, showed how Mumbai Indians have this knack of bringing out their best in adverse situations.

Confidence factor

Rohit Sharma knows his team only has to do what it has done over the years to bounce back, and he is hopeful. “We know it’s not the end of the world and Mumbai Indians have always lost the first game and won the title. I hope it is the same this year,” he said a few days ago.

In IPL 2008, Mumbai Indians began with four defeats, but won the next six games. However, failure to reach the semifinal in the first two seasons saw Mumbai Indians turn into a determined unit, and that was on show in 2010.

Recording their best start, winning seven of the first 10 matches, Mumbai Indians reached the final, but lost to Chennai Super Kings.

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Over the next two seasons, Mumbai rubbed shoulders with the tournament’s best teams Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and CSK, and made it to the playoffs. But defeats left Mumbai yearning to lay their hands on the trophy.

Winning thrillers to set the tone

Though they won six of the first 10 matches in 2013, tougher challenges awaited them. Mumbai clinched a four-wicket win with a ball to spare against Rajasthan in the second qualifier and pipped CSK by 23 runs in the final. It was bitter-sweet as Sachin Tendulkar announced it was his last IPL.

It was in IPL 2014 when Mumbai truly set their mark as a side which could stage remarkable comebacks. In a crunch game against Rajasthan Royals (RR), Mumbai needed 190 to win in 14.3 overs to make it to the playoffs. Corey Anderson’s 95 not out powered Mumbai to a thrilling win though defeat to CSK in the Eliminator ended their run.

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Among their three title wins, 2015 had looked the most improbable as Mumbai Indians began with five defeats in six games. Again, Mumbai Indians went on to win nine of their next 10 games before lifting the trophy a second time.

An inconsistent run in 2016 saw Mumbai fail to reach the playoffs, but they made amends last year. The only blip was struggles against Rising Pune Supergiant as they lost both league matches.

However, Mumbai Indians avenged the losses in a nail-biting final, prevailing over Pune by one run to become IPL champions for a record third time.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 23:13 IST