It was just two seasons ago that Mumbai Indians (MI) won a record-extending fifth IPL title. And then came the IPL 2022 mega auction and their fortunes changed. Their flawed auction strategy drew flak despite the franchise putting up a brave face. However, once the season began, the result was evident. They endured their worst ever start to an IPL losing eight matches in a row and became the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs race. They also ended at the bottom of the 10-team standings – the first time in their history that MI has finished last.
So what went wrong? Well, everything. They failed to find a replacement for Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah returned to form quite late, captain Rohit Sharma endured his worst ever season failing to hit a single fifty, they lacked a quality spinner, Kieron Pollard was a pale shadow of his old self and then a questionable auction and selection policies – all these elements combined for a deadly cocktail and the result was four wins from 14 attempts.
MI splurged on buying Jofra Archer when they knew he wouldn’t be available for the season. They roped in the likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Tymal Mills, and Daniel Sams after losing a top-class left-arm pacer in Trent Boult. Only Sams could produce a performance of some semblance and even he had his nightmare.
IPL 2022 Record: Played: 14; Won: 4; Lost: 10; Standing: 10th
HIGH POINT OF THE SEASON
Beating table-toppers Gujarat Titans in a last-over thriller for their second win in a row. A combined batting display propelled them to a challenging 177/6 at the Brabourne Stadium. However, GT made an excellent start to the chase with their openers adding 106 in 12 overs. However, Murugun Ashwin sent back both the openers in an over to lay the foundation of a remarkable comeback. The contest was dragged into the final over where MI needed to defend 9 runs. Daniel Sams, who earlier in the tournament was creamed for 35 runs in an over, bounced back from the humiliation. The Aussie stuck to his guns, mixed it up with slower deliveries, and allowed just three runs to pull off a heist.
LOW POINT OF THE SEASON
When MI lost to Lucknow Super Giants for the second time, they set a new record for the worst start to a season by a team in IPL history. The defeat was their eighth in a row and it all but ended their hopes of a playoff berth.
Well, Rohit wasn’t much at fault. However, his form was poor – he managed 268 runs from 14 innings averaging a poor 19.14, and failed to hit a fifty for the first time in his IPL career. The 35-year-old has led MI to multiple IPL titles and has been consistently counted among the top thinkers of the game. He was simply unlucky that several of his top players failed to produce their best when they needed them the most. Even Bumrah was off-color – 10 of his 14 wickets came in MI’s final four matches. After a series of failures, Pollard was dropped. If Rohit has a single-handed say in playing XI selection, then he must be criticized for not giving Tim David a longer rope and dropping him midway but that seems highly unlikely.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Tilak Varma. Without doubt. While MI must be licking their wounds this season, they must be quite hopeful for the future considering the emergence of Tilak who in his debut season produced plenty of mature knocks. He might just be 19 but the way the youngster carried himself on the field, especially when he batted, belied the fact he was playing in his maiden IPL. He scored 397 runs in 14 innings – the second-highest for the franchise in the season including two half-centuries. With experience, expect him to get even better.
Kieron Pollard. The allrounder was one of the four retained players alongside Rohit, Bumrah, and Suryakumar Yadav. Like Rohit, he too had a forgettable season. In 11 matches, he mustered 144 runs and took four wickets in 14 overs. Eventually, he was dropped as MI went for young blood in Tim David and Dewald Brevis. There’s also a sense that one may have seen the last of Pollard in MI colors.
Their season was doomed from the very start with the kind of squad they had at their disposal. Their bowling attack was quite weak, and the batting was heavily dependent on Suryakumar and young Tilak putting them under undue pressure. Surya had to modify his game consistently to suit his needs and thereby suppress his instincts. A well and truly disappointing season.
Most runs: Ishan Kishan (418)
Most wickets: Jasprit Bumrah (15)
Highest individual score: Ishan Kishan (81*)
Best bowling figures: Jasprit Bumrah (5/10)