With the 14th edition of the IPL began on Friday, the big question on everyone's mind is how does one stop the rampaging Mumbai Indians from winning three titles in a row after their wins in 2020 last year in the UAE and in 2019 in Hyderabad.
Mumbai Indians are the only team to have won five IPL titles, they stumbled to wins in their first four titles but the way they bossed the 2020 IPL title in the UAE which got over last November and hardly any time for other franchises to change their teams because of the mini auction, it's going to be challenging for the rest of the seven franchises to turn around their fortunes against a confident and power packed Mumbai Indians.
Mumbai Indians have the most destructive batting line up with power packed players right from the top till number 7 with an average strike rate of 140 is indeed very frightening for most of the bowlers. The right and left combination of their openers of Captain Rohit Sharma and Quinton De Kick followed by Pocket size Bish Bash Kishan and their most consistent batsman for the last three years Surya Kumar Yadav, all play a fearless brand of cricket from the word go.
And then to finish off their innings in style, they have Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya who can destroy the good work done initially by the opposition with an assault that dents the confidence of the whole team.
Considering the pandemic restrictions, Mumbai Indians play five matches in Chennai, four in Delhi, three in Bengaluru and two in Kolkata this year and will not have home advantage of playing their minimum seven games in Mumbai where their pacers like Bumrah, Boult, Nathan Coulter Nile come in to play because of the bounce the red soil of Wankhede pitch offers.
Chennai and Delhi traditionally help spinners and if there is a chink in their bowling, it's their spinners with Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav lacking the experience and can be put under the pump if opposition team attack them.
Even Mumbai have got in Piyush Chawla, the experienced spinner in their line up, he looked a distant far from the bowler during his peak days.
Moreover, teams who are spin healthy can target batsman like Rohit Sharma ,Quinton De Kock so that they don't get a rollicking start to their inning's.
Easier said than done but the best way to beat Mumbai Indians is to play the same brand of cricket that Mumbai Indians played last year, the England style of fearless and attacking brand of cricket.
There is a common saying that goes, if you can't beat the opposition, join them and play their style and I am sure captains like Eoin Morgan of KKR , Virat Kohli of RCB and Thala Dhoni of CSK would have done their homework well to tame the Big Elephant Mumbai Indians this time around.
Time will tell whether Mumbai Indians Express can be stopped in their tracks and which will be the team that derails them? Your guess is as good as mine.