Only one side has successfully defended the Indian Premier League crown in the 13 seasons of the competition. The Chennai Super Kings claimed back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, and they came within two runs of repeating the feat last season.
The Super Kings seemingly had their chase against the Mumbai Indians in hand, only to be denied in the final over by brilliance from Lasith Malinga. It allowed the Indians to earn their fourth championship, becoming the most successful side in the history of the Indian Premier League. The franchise is now moving into position to make a bid for a second title in a row.
Rohit Sharma’s side has made a strong start to the competition and appears to be on course for another slot in the post-season. Although they are missing key players such as their match-winner from last year’s final, Malinga, Mumbai has maintained their championship form. It will take a strong effort to dislodge them from the top spot in the standings and a favourable route to the final.
There will be challenges ahead, but the Indians have a potent squad with experience throughout their line-up. It would be a surprise not to see them at least participate in the final on November 10 as they appear to be experts in tournament play.
Can The Indians Repeat Their Success?
Mumbai was off the pace in the early stages of the campaign and they suffered a defeat on an opening day according to ESPNcricinfo, as the Super Kings got a semblance of revenge for their 2019 IPL final disappointment.
They bounced back with a win over the Kolkata Knight Riders as Sharma took control of proceedings with a knock of 80. However, Royal Challengers Bangalore highlighted the threat they could potentially be in the competition this term, defeating the Indians in a Super Over. Since then the Indians have been imperious in their form, winning four matches on the bounce. In their run of success, Mumbai displayed their best to see off the upstart Delhi Capitals.
Krunal Pandya led the way with the ball to restrict the Capitals to 162-4 from their 20 overs before Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock led the charge to chase down the target with two balls to spare. The Indians have been there and done it all before, and it showed in that contest. Their experience will be vital down the stretch and in the post-season where they are currently backed as the leading contenders as of the 16th October at 3.20 with Betway to win the tournament.
Their bowling ranks are stacked with quality – notably Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, who is challenging in the race for the most wickets taken in the competition. Sharma, Yadav and De Kock have not been consistent, but are proven players under pressure. The team seems ready for another tilt at the title.
Who Could Challenge Mumbai?
The Super Kings are not the force that they were last season and may not be capable of mounting a charge to even reach the post-season. Past champions Sunrisers Hyderabad are struggling to find their form in the competition under new coach Trevor Bayliss.
The main threat this term appears to be looming from the Delhi Capitals, who are well led by the impressive Shreyas Iyer. The Capitals have a good balance of attacking batters along with a potent bowling attack.
South African duo Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have been extremely dangerous, with the former leading the race for the Purple Cap. Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan have been in form with the bat, while they have an abundance of talented all-rounders, including Australia’s Marcus Stoinis.
The experience could count against them having lost in the Qualifier 2 stage last season, but they’re certainly worth monitoring until the end of the tournament in the daily picks before the playoffs arrive. Royal Challengers Bangalore have been underwhelming for the past three seasons in the IPL. They’ve failed to reach the playoffs and finished bottom of the standings in 2019. However, Virat Kohli’s men have found their touch this season with the skipper starting to thrive at the crease after a slow start.
With AB de Villiers and Aaron Finch in the top order, RCB has the talent to blow away their opponents. Their bowling line-up can be hit and miss, although Chris Morris and Yuzvendra Chahal are high-class operators. They should be there at the end to provide a threat to the Indians’ hopes and are contenders in the IPL tips.
Mumbai is an incredibly strong team and has valuable tools of experience and nous on their side. Sharma is an excellent leader, and he and his team are more than capable of fending off the talented competition to take the crown once again.