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Defending champions Mumbai Indians have all ingredients to complete IPL hat-trick

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Can Mumbai Indians make it three in a row? (3:26)

Dale Steyn, Aakash Chopra, Sanjay Manjrekar and Deep Dasgupta on Mumbai Indians' chances this season (3:26)

Where they finished in 2020

Champions - for the second time in a row and with their fifth trophy overall.

Potential XI

1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Ishan Kishan, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile/Adam Milne, 9 Rahul Chahar/Piyush Chawla, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Batting

Mumbai Indians' batting unit must be the most power-packed line-up, featuring five names in their usual top seven who played for India against England recently, and two foreigners - Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard - known for their fearless strokeplay in limited-overs formats.
One of the main reasons behind Mumbai's title last year was their well-oiled batting muscle. They barely changed the top seven except for injuries, and saw as many as 30 sixes sail off Ishan Kishan's bat and four half-centuries each from three different players: Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and de Kock. Such was their batting might that only two batsmen struck at under 140 in the season, and the big-hitting Chris Lynn didn't even get a game.

With their core intact, and Kishan and Yadav - who amassed 996 runs between them at 145.40 last time - in prime form for India as well, Mumbai have made sure they have left the worrying to do for their oppositions. This time they have also added allrounder James Neesham after releasing Sherfane Rutherford before the 2021 auction.

Bowling

With the bowling core also as solid, Mumbai's attack has been strengthened further with the addition of speedster Adam Milne, experienced legspinner Piyush Chawla and South Africa's 20-year-old left-arm quick Marco Jansen.

They let go of James Pattinson, which means one of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Milne will have to first accompany Trent Boult in the powerplay and then Jasprit Bumrah in the death overs. It has often been said their spinners lack experience and even though Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav have stepped up whenever required, the addition of Chawla will only bolster the attack as they start their campaign with five games in Chennai, followed by four in Delhi before moving to Bengaluru and Kolkata.

The presence of Pollard and Krunal Pandya - assuming Hardik Pandya doesn't bowl - also adds envious flexibility to their bowling attack to either play two spinners and two fast bowlers or play just one frontline spinner and three quicks where pitches won't be as spin-friendly.

To add to Boult's specialist powerplay bowling and Bumrah's death-overs exploits, Mumbai now possess Milne, who recently returned to international cricket by clocking 150kph again, to create the kind of menace Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje did with raw pace for the Delhi Capitals the last time.

Should they require any back-ups for injuries, they have Dhawal Kulkarni, left-arm spinner Anukul Roy and left-arm quicks Jansen, Mohsin Khan and Arjun Tendulkar.

Young player to watch out for

At 6ft 8 inches with a lanky figure, Marco Jansen can clock 137-138kph regularly, and even breach the 140kph mark. If Mumbai need the variety of a left-arm fast bowler in their XI, Jansen could easily get a look in because of his ability to play some big shots down the order as well. The allrounder has played all three formats in the South African domestic circuit, had a decent economy rate of 7.33 in the six T20 games he played for the Warriors in February, and could well be this season's unknown surprise package which Mumbai are known to throw at their oppositions.

Coaching staff

Mahela Jayawardene (head coach), Zaheer Khan (director of cricket operations), Shane Bond (bowling coach), Robin Singh (batting coach), James Pamment (fielding coach).

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