HomeFeatureAre There Chinks Appearing In Mumbai Indians' Game In WPL 2024?

Are There Chinks Appearing In Mumbai Indians’ Game In WPL 2024?

WPL 2024: In the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League, Mumbai Indians (MI) dazzled with their remarkable performance, securing six victories out of eight league stage encounters. Their journey to clinching the trophy involved defeating UP Warriorz in the Eliminator before triumphing over table-toppers Delhi Capitals in a thrilling final.

This year, however, the story seems to be taking a different turn. Despite finishing the league phase in second place with six wins and two losses under the leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur, Mumbai Indians’ performance has been far from the dominant force they once were.

As they gear up to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator, it’s evident that this season has seen the Mumbai Indians encountering more ups and downs than usual, raising questions about the solidity of their game.

Let’s assess how Mumbai Indians did in WPL 2024 so far:

Form of Hayley Matthews, Amelia Kerr and Nat Sciver-Brunt

MI's overseas players in focus [Image: Getty]
MI’s overseas players in focus [Image: Getty]
Last season, Hayley Matthews, Amelia Kerr, and Nat Sciver-Brunt formed the backbone of Mumbai Indians’ triumphant campaign in the Women’s Premier League. Their stellar contributions with both bat and ball were pivotal in ensuring victory in every match, showcasing their indispensability to the team’s success.

However, in the current 2024 edition, the trio’s performances have witnessed a significant downturn. Last year, Nat Sciver-Brunt amassed an impressive 332 runs, while Hayley Matthews and Amelia Kerr contributed 271 and 139 runs respectively. This season, their returns have been far from satisfactory. Matthews has managed only 165 runs, Sciver-Brunt 149 runs, and Kerr 188 runs.

Hayley Matthews, MVP of the previous season, in particular, seems to struggle against spin and her strike rate takes a massive nosedive which further exerts pressure on her batting partner at the other end who would have to don the role of the aggressor which could lead to a wicket loss and pressure on the other batters coming in.

The decline in their output not only reflects a loss of form but also raises concerns about the impact on Mumbai Indians’ batting lineup. With these key players failing to replicate their previous performances, their dismissals now exert greater pressure on the rest of the batting order, exposing vulnerabilities that opponents are quick to exploit.

As Mumbai Indians face critical encounters in the ongoing league, the underperformance of their star trio emerges as a pressing issue that demands immediate attention.

Dependence on Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet Kaur will look to take her team to their second final! [Image: Getty]
Harmanpreet Kaur will look to take her team to their second final! [Image: Getty]
Amidst the fluctuating fortunes of Mumbai Indians in the ongoing Women’s Premier League, one constant has been the stellar performance of Harmanpreet Kaur. With 235 runs under her belt, at a staggering strike rate of 146.87, Kaur has emerged as the linchpin of Mumbai Indians’ batting lineup this season.

What sets Kaur apart is her ability to thrive in challenging situations, playing through tricky phases with remarkable composure. Last season, she amassed 281 runs, showcasing her consistency and prowess with the bat and this season, her invaluable contributions have often been the saving grace for Mumbai Indians, holding the batting together in difficult encounters.

In a team that has witnessed fluctuations in form and performance, Kaur’s unwavering batting prowess has provided stability and confidence to the Mumbai Indians’ camp. Her knack for rising to the occasion and delivering crucial runs, especially when the chips are down including a blazing 95* versus Gujarat Giants, underscores her significance as the cornerstone of Mumbai Indians’ batting unit.

In the previous edition of the Women’s Premier League, Mumbai Indians boasted three batters in the top 10 of the batting charts, a testament to their formidable batting lineup. However, this time around, the scenario is starkly different, with only Harmanpreet Kaur making it into the elite ranks. The stark contrast in Mumbai Indians’ batting prowess highlights the team’s overreliance on Kaur to anchor their innings and accumulate runs. While Kaur’s exceptional form has undoubtedly been a silver lining for the team, the lack of support from other batters has raised concerns about Mumbai Indians’ batting depth and consistency.

As they navigate through the eliminator stage and beyond, Mumbai Indians will continue to rely heavily on Kaur’s batting prowess but also want the other batters to come to the party to steer them towards success in the league.

ALSO READ: WPL 2024: Mumbai Indians (MI) – SWOT Analysis

Bowling fortunes

MI's bowling department [Image: Getty]
MI’s bowling department [Image: Getty]
In the previous edition of the Women’s Premier League, Mumbai Indians boasted a formidable bowling lineup, spearheaded by the likes of Hayley Matthews, Issy Wong, Amelia Kerr, Saika Ishaque, and Nat Sciver-Brunt.

Their combined efforts yielded significant results, with each player making valuable contributions to the team’s success. Matthews was particularly impressive, each claiming 16 wickets, while Saika Ishaque, Kerr and Wong picked up 15 wickets respectively. Sciver-Brunt also chipped in with 10 crucial dismissals.

However, the story this season is markedly different. From the aforementioned list of star bowlers, only Nat Sciver-Brunt has managed to maintain her form, albeit with a reduced tally of 8 wickets to make it to the top 10 tally of wicket takers with Shabnim Ismail.

Saika Ishaque and Amelia Kerr have managed only 7 wickets each, while Hayley Matthews’ contribution has been limited to just 5 wickets. Issy Wong, who played fewer games this season, couldn’t replicate her previous success with the ball.

This significant drop in wicket-taking form among Mumbai Indians’ key bowlers has presented a major challenge for the team. The inability to consistently pick up wickets has not only affected their ability to contain opposition batsmen but has also put added pressure on the rest of the bowling unit.

Positives to focus on?

Shabnim Ismail has been a force to reckon (Image: WPL)
Shabnim Ismail has been a force to reckon with (Image: WPL)

Amidst Mumbai Indians’ challenges in the ongoing Women’s Premier League, there have been several shining stars whose performances have provided much-needed positivity and hope for the team. S Sajana, the domestic star and her strike rate of 165.38 has been impressive and her last ball six in the first game versus Delhi Capitals not only secured their first win but also showcased her ability to make a significant impact when it matters the most.

Yastika Bhatia’s consistent contributions with the bat, amassing 185 runs at a strike rate of 131.2, have been invaluable, particularly in the absence of key players like Hayley Matthews performing consistently. Pooja Vastrakar’s effectiveness in the middle overs, both with the bat and ball, has been commendable, providing stability and breakthroughs when needed the most.

Additionally, the addition of Shabnim Ismail to the bowling department has proven to be a masterstroke, with her ability to strike early in the powerplay overs, claiming 8 wickets which is the second most in the powerplay and she also is the most economical bowler in the tournament with a jaw-dropping economy of just 5.70. Undoubtedly, she has bolstered the Mumbai Indians’ bowling attack significantly.

These standout performances from the new stars in the Mumbai Indians’ lineup have infused the team with renewed confidence and momentum, ensuring they ended up second on the table as they will now feature in the Eliminator.

As Mumbai Indians navigate through the challenges of the league, the emergence of these promising talents bodes well for their prospects in the upcoming matches. With a blend of experienced campaigners and promising newcomers, Mumbai Indians possess the firepower and resilience needed to overcome adversity and emerge triumphant once again in their quest for glory in the Women’s Premier League 2024 (WPL 2024).

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