HomeAnalysisWPL 2024: Mumbai Indians - Comprehensive Season Review

WPL 2024: Mumbai Indians – Comprehensive Season Review

WPL 2024: Mumbai Indians strode onto the field as the reigning champions, carrying not just their team colours but also the immense expectations of fans and pundits alike. With the glittering trophy from the previous season adorning their cabinet, they seemed poised to continue their reign atop the WPL hierarchy. However, as the season unfolded, it became evident that their path would be fraught with challenges.

While the Mumbai Indians managed to clinch a playoff berth, their journey was far from straightforward. Rather than sailing smoothly through the competition, they encountered turbulent waters marked by inconsistency and unfulfilled promises. Each match became a battleground where they fought not only against their opponents but also against their own limitations.

Despite flashes of brilliance, including notable victories against formidable adversaries such as the Delhi Capitals and the Gujarat Giants, there were glaring chinks in their armour. The early triumphs served as fleeting moments of respite amidst a sea of uncertainty. The defeat against UPW served as a stark wake-up call, exposing vulnerabilities that had been concealed beneath the surface.

Their struggle to maintain momentum was evident in their rollercoaster ride of wins and losses. While they showcased flashes of brilliance with a resilient triumph over RCB, their subsequent defeats to DC and RCB underscored their inability to sustain their winning streak. It was as if they were sailing against the tide, constantly battling to stay afloat in the unforgiving sea of competition.

Ultimately, their journey culminated in a bitter disappointment as they bowed out of the competition in the eliminator stage. The lofty aspirations of a title defence were dashed, replaced by a sense of introspection and a determination to rise from the ashes of defeat.

Mumbai Indians were sorely disappointed [Image: Getty]
Mumbai Indians were sorely disappointed [Image: Getty]

The Mumbai Indians embarked on their title defence with a flourish, capturing victories against formidable adversaries such as the Delhi Capitals in the first match and the Gujarat Giants respectively. Their initial triumphs hinted at a continuation of their previous season’s dominance. However, cracks in their facade were revealed as they stumbled against UPW, casting doubt upon their invincibility.

Though they managed to regain their footing with a resilient triumph over RCB, inconsistency became a recurring theme throughout their journey. Defeats at the hands of DC and RCB laid bare their struggle to sustain a winning streak, exposing vulnerabilities that had previously been shrouded. Ultimately, their odyssey culminated in a disappointing departure from the eliminator stage, a far cry from the euphoria of their championship triumph in the preceding season.

This comprehensive review provides a detailed analysis of the Mumbai Indians’ tumultuous expedition through the Women’s Premier League 2024, delving into the intricacies of their successes, shortcomings, and the road ahead.

What Worked Well?

Yastika Bhatia’s Good Form

Yastika Bhatia emerged as a beacon of consistency amidst the Mumbai Indians’ turbulent campaign. Her batting prowess and astute shot selection made her a formidable presence at the crease.

Throughout the season, Bhatia displayed a remarkable ability to anchor the innings, providing stability to the team’s batting lineup. Her fluid strokeplay and ability to rotate the strike effectively often laid the foundation for substantial partnerships. Bhatia’s contributions with the bat were invaluable, providing the Mumbai Indians with much-needed stability in crucial moments of the game.

Harmanpreet Kaur’s Captaincy and Form

Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front [Image: Getty]
Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front [Image: Getty]
Harmanpreet Kaur’s dual role as both captain and player proved to be a source of strength for the Mumbai Indians. Kaur’s astute leadership and tactical acumen were evident in her strategic decisions on the field. As a player, her formidable batting prowess added depth to the team’s lineup, often turning the tide of the match in their favour.

Kaur led by example, displaying resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Her ability to rally the team during challenging moments instilled confidence and belief in her teammates. Kaur’s leadership and individual performance were instrumental in guiding the Mumbai Indians through the highs and lows of the season.

Shabnim Ismail’s Impact in the Powerplays

Shabnim Ismail bowled the fasted recorded delivery this WPL. (Image: WPL)
Shabnim Ismail bowled the fasted recorded delivery. (Image: WPL)

The inclusion of Shabnim Ismail proved to be a masterstroke for the Mumbai Indians. Ismail’s ability to generate pace and swing made her a potent weapon, particularly during the powerplay overs.

Her aggressive bowling style and ability to extract movement from the pitch often put opposing batters on the back foot early in the innings. Ismail’s knack for picking up early wickets provided the Mumbai Indians with crucial breakthroughs, disrupting the opposition’s momentum.

Her consistency and accuracy in hitting the right areas made her a formidable force in the bowling lineup. Ismail’s contributions in the powerplays were pivotal in setting the tone for the team’s bowling performance.

Form of S Sajana & Pooja Vastrakar

S Sajana impressed everyone. [Image: Getty]
S Sajana impressed everyone. [Image: Getty]
S Sajana and Pooja Vastrakar emerged as key contributors to the Mumbai Indians’ success during the WPL 2024 season. Sajana’s spin bowling prowess and Vastrakar’s all-round abilities added depth to the team’s roster. Sajana’s ability to vary her pace and flight troubled opposing batters, often leading to breakthroughs at crucial junctures of the game. Her economical bowling and knack for picking up wickets made her a valuable asset in the spin department.

She was also instrumental with the bat on a couple of occasions and scripted herself as an impact player.

On the other hand, Vastrakar’s explosive batting style and reliable seam bowling provided the Mumbai Indians with versatility in both batting and bowling departments. Vastrakar’s ability to chip in with crucial contributions with both bat and ball proved to be invaluable for the team’s success. Collectively, Sajana and Vastrakar’s performances bolstered the Mumbai Indians’ campaign, showcasing their talent and potential on the grand stage of the WPL 2024.

What Did Not Work Well?

Overdependence on Core Overseas Players

MI's overseas players did not have the most ideal seasons [Image: Getty]
MI’s overseas players did not have the most ideal seasons [Image: Getty]
The Mumbai Indians’ overreliance on their core overseas players, such as Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt, and Amelia Kerr, proved to be a double-edged sword during the WPL 2024 season.

While these players had been instrumental in the team’s success in the previous season, the burden of expectation weighed heavily on their shoulders this time around. Opposing teams began to strategize specifically against these key players, limiting their impact on the field.

As a result, the Mumbai Indians found themselves vulnerable when their star overseas players failed to deliver match-winning performances consistently. The lack of support from other areas of the team exacerbated the pressure on these players, leading to a stagnation in their overall performance.

Ineffectiveness of Spinners

The Mumbai Indians’ spin bowling department, led by Saika Ishaque and Amelia Kerr, faltered at crucial junctures throughout the season. Despite possessing talented spinners, they struggled to make an impact in certain conditions, particularly on pitches that offered little assistance to spinners.

Saika Ishaque’s inability to pick up wickets in matches held in Bangalore and her modest returns in matches played in Delhi highlighted her inconsistency. Similarly, Amelia Kerr’s failure to make an impact with the ball in matches held in Delhi underscored the team’s struggles in the spin department.

The lack of wicket-taking options in the spin bowling arsenal exposed the Mumbai Indians’ vulnerability against teams with strong batting lineups, leaving them with few avenues to apply pressure on the opposition.

Lack of Support for Domestic Players

Mumbai Indians did not back their domestic players entirely [Image: Getty]
Mumbai Indians did not back their domestic players entirely [Image: Getty]
Despite boasting a talented pool of domestic players, the Mumbai Indians failed to provide adequate support to individuals like Humairaa Kaazi and Keerthana Balakrishnan who made it to the playing 11 on some occasions but were not given a longer rope or used properly in the right phases.

These players, who had shown promise in previous seasons, found themselves relegated to the sidelines, with limited opportunities to showcase their abilities on the field.

The lack of faith in their domestic talent pool resulted in a missed opportunity for the Mumbai Indians to leverage the depth and diversity within their squad. This lack of support not only affected the morale of the domestic players but also hindered the team’s ability to field a well-rounded lineup that could compete effectively against other franchises.

Underutilization of Domestic Options

The underutilization of promising domestic options such as Fatima Jaffer, Amandeep Kaur, and Jintimani Kalita further compounded the Mumbai Indians’ woes. Despite possessing talent and potential, these players were often overlooked in favour of overseas recruits or established stars.

The failure to provide opportunities for these domestic players to showcase their skills deprived the Mumbai Indians of valuable depth and diversity within their squad. Additionally, it hindered the development of these players and prevented the team from tapping into their full potential.

Lack of Form for Issy Wong and Chloe Tryon

The lack of form for players like Issy Wong and Chloe Tryon proved to be a significant setback for the Mumbai Indians.

Issy Wong’s inability to find her rhythm with the ball and Chloe Tryon not getting regular playing time was unfortunate. This lack of form and consistency from key players further weakened the Mumbai Indians’ squad and limited their options in crucial moments of the season.

What Can They Do Ahead of the Next Season?

Acquire a Frontline Spinner

One of the glaring deficiencies that the Mumbai Indians need to address ahead of the next season is the absence of a frontline spinner. The lack of a reliable spinner who can consistently pick up wickets and control the flow of runs proved to be a significant weakness during the WPL 2024 campaign.

Acquiring a seasoned spinner with a proven track record in domestic or international cricket would provide much-needed stability to the team’s bowling lineup. A frontline spinner would not only complement the pace bowlers but also offer a different dimension to the team’s bowling attack, particularly in conditions conducive to spin.

Additionally, a quality spinner can apply pressure on the opposition batter, create opportunities for breakthroughs, and stem the flow of runs during crucial phases of the game. Investing in a frontline spinner would not only bolster the Mumbai Indians’ bowling department but also enhance their overall competitiveness in the upcoming season.

Secure a Backup Overseas Top-Order Batter

Another area that the Mumbai Indians should prioritize ahead of the next season is securing a backup overseas top-order batter. While the team boasts a formidable lineup of overseas players, including Hayley Matthews, Nat Sciver-Brunt, and Amelia Kerr, the absence of a reliable backup option in the top order was conspicuous during the WPL 2024 season.

Injuries, loss of form, or international commitments can often disrupt the availability of key players, leaving the team vulnerable at the top of the batting order.

Acquiring a backup overseas top-order batter would provide insurance against such contingencies and ensure continuity in the team’s batting lineup. A reliable backup option would not only strengthen the team’s batting depth but also provide flexibility in team selection and strategy.

Additionally, a backup overseas top-order batter with experience and pedigree would complement the existing talent within the squad and contribute to the team’s success in the upcoming season.

MI would look to come back stronger [Image: Getty]
MI would look to come back stronger [Image: Getty]
Final Thoughts?

The Mumbai Indians’ journey through the Women’s Premier League 2024 was a rollercoaster ride of triumphs and tribulations, marked by moments of brilliance and challenges to overcome. Despite entering the tournament as defending champions and carrying the weight of expectations on their shoulders, they encountered obstacles that tested their resilience and determination.

While certain aspects of their performance, such as the form of Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur’s leadership, and the contributions of players like Shabnim Ismail, S Sajana, and Pooja Vastrakar, showcased glimpses of their potential, there were glaring areas of concern that need to be addressed moving forward.

The overreliance on core overseas players, the ineffectiveness of spinners, the lack of support for domestic players, the underutilization of talent, and the lack of form for key players like Issy Wong and Chloe Tryon highlighted areas for improvement.

Looking ahead to the next season, the Mumbai Indians must undertake strategic measures to strengthen their squad and rectify these shortcomings. Acquiring a frontline spinner and securing a backup overseas top-order batter are imperative steps to enhance the team’s competitiveness and bolster their chances of reclaiming the title.

Despite the setbacks faced during the WPL 2024 season, the Mumbai Indians have the talent, resources, and resilience to bounce back stronger. With introspection, strategic planning, and a renewed sense of purpose, they can embark on a journey of redemption and strive for excellence in the seasons to come.

As they regroup and prepare for the challenges ahead, the Mumbai Indians remain a formidable force in women’s cricket, poised to write a new chapter of success in their storied legacy.

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