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Can The Best Of Mumbai Indians Beat The Best Indian T20I XI?

Can The Best Of Mumbai Indians Beat The Best Indian T20I XI?

Club vs Country is always a fascinating challenge and has intrigued millions of fans, pundits and analysts for several decades. Can Manchester United beat England? Is Barcelona better than Spain? 13 years into the coveted Indian Premier League (IPL) and such questions have started to intrigue the Indian cricket fan too. One of particular interest is how good really are the Mumbai Indians currently – the five-time IPL winners and the defending champions?

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Apart from India’s new strategy of going all-out in attack, another very noticeable feature about the team combination in the ongoing T20I series against England is the number of batsmen in the squad from the Mumbai Indians franchise. Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya make it a batting order dominated by one franchise. And with good reason! They are the most successful side in the competition and winners of the last two seasons of the IPL. Add Jasprit Bumrah to the Indian XI and potentially we have 5 players from one franchise!

So the question that crops up is can the best of Mumbai Indians beat the current Indian T20 XI?

Let us analyze by first picking the best XIs from both the teams. Of course, there will be repetition which means that the rest of the players in each team will decide who is superior.

Mumbai Indians Best XI

Rohit Sharma (Captain)

Quinton de Kock (Wk)

Suryakumar Yadav

Ishan Kishan

Kieron Pollard

Hardik Pandya

Krunal Pandya

Piyush Chawla

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Jasprit Bumrah

Trent Boult

India Best XI

Rohit Sharma

KL Rahul

Ishan Kishan

Virat Kohli (Captain)

Suryakumar Yadav

Rishabh Pant (Wk)

Hardik Pandya

Washington Sundar​

Yuzvendra Chahal

Deepak Chahar

Jasprit Bumrah

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There are 5 direct one to one match-ups which make for an interesting comparison:

KL Rahul vs Quinton De Kock

Rahul – the opener has a better record than De Kock – the opener in T20I cricket. Rahul has an aggregate of 1104 runs in 30 innings at an average of 39.42 and strike rate of 140.99 including 11 fifties while the South African left-hander has scored 1273 runs in 44 innings at 31.04 per dismissal and rate of 137.32 with 6 fifties. Rahul’s immediate poor form notwithstanding, the stylish Indian opener has an average of around 38 and strike rate of close to 140 as opener for India since 2019. De Kock has also played some breathtaking knocks during this period – his 22-ball 65 against England and 47-ball 70 against Australia the standout innings.

Rahul has been the highest run-getter in the last three editions of the IPL. De Kock has also scored a little over 500 runs at an average of around 35 with an average strike rate of 135 during the last two seasons of the IPL.

It is tough contest but Rahul’s overall record and sheer volume of runs tilts the balance in his favour.

Rishabh Pant vs Kieron Pollard

This is an intriguing clash between two of the most destructive batsmen in T20 cricket history. Pollard had the highest strike rate in IPL 2020 (191.42) whereas Pant had his worst tournament scoring at a rate of just 114. But overall, while the West Indian scores at a rate of almost 153 in T20 cricket, Pant is not far behind at 149. It is the record for their respective national teams where Pollard has the advantage though – he has an average of 25 and strike rate of 137 for the West Indies whereas Pant has an average of 21 and strike rate of 123 for India.

However, Pant has come of age in the last few months winning India matches from impossible situations against the best attacks in the world. Albeit in a different format, it is only a matter of time before he explodes in T20 cricket too in the blue jersey.

Both the players bring in an additional skill – Pollard is more than just a useful fast-medium bowler and Pant does the job for India behind the stumps. But where the Trinidadian may have an advantage is in his experience and leadership qualities. Pollard has played 534 T20 matches in several leagues all over the world (compared to Pant’s 114) and has led Barbados Tridents and Trinbago Knight Riders to victory in the Caribbean Premier League. No player has won more T20 titles in the world than Pollard’s 15.

With his experience and big-match temperament, Pollard wins this match-up against Pant.

Krunal Pandya vs Washington Sundar

Krunal Pandya has an economy rate of 7.26 in the IPL and has been phenomenally consistent over the years on this count. He has never conceded more than 7.6 runs per over in a season. Coupled with his restrictive bowling is his useful lower-order hitting prowess – Krunal has a strike rate of 142.45 in the IPL.

Washington Sundar does not have the same destructive ability with the bat but is a more economical bowler conceding just 6.87 runs per over in his IPL career. With an economy rate of 5.96, he was RCB’s unsung hero and one of the most restrictive bowlers of the 2020 season.

Sundar is also a more accomplished pure batsman and can bat higher in the order or rescue the team in case of a top order collapse.

Krunal vs Sundar is a difficult one to choose as both play their roles to perfection for their respective sides. Let this match-up be a stalemate.

Piyush Chawla vs Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal, with a better overall record and more tricks up his sleeve wins this clash of the leg spinners. The RCB leg break bowler has picked 121 wickets in 99 matches at a strike rate of 17.6 and economy rate of 7.67. Chawla, picked by Mumbai Indians in the auctions in February, is the third-highest wicket-taker in IPL history but has a strike rate of 20.83 and economy rate of 7.87 in the IPL.

Chahal might be leaking runs for India in the series against England but was in scintillating form for RCB in IPL 2020. He was the highest wicket-taker amongst spinners in the season with 21 wickets at an economy of just 7.08. Chawla picked just 6 wickets in 2020 and was very expensive conceding 9.09 runs per over.

Trent Boult vs Deepak Chahar

Trent Boult had a sensational season in 2020 and was one of the bowlers of the tournament. He returned with 25 wickets from 15 matches and was the Player of the Match in the final. Overall Boult has 63 wickets from 48 IPL matches at an economy rate of 8.53.

Deepak Chahar is a T20 specialist with a knack of picking wickets in the powerplay. He is a more restrictive bowler than Boult with an economy rate of just 7.62. Boult has the advantage of playing almost three times the number of international matches in the format.

Given his overall stature in international cricket the New Zealander wins this head to head contest.

The players remaining now are Virat Kohli from India and Nathan Coulter-Nile from Mumbai Indians. India prefers to go in with an extra batsman while Mumbai Indians smartly plays an additional bowler. Virat Kohli is one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the format while Coulter-Nile is a very useful fast-bowling all-rounder for the Mumbai Indians – an ideal support act to Bumrah and Boult. One to one of course – Kohli wins this clash.

Rohit Sharma vs Virat Kohli

The battle of the captains could well be the defining one in a potential clash between India and Mumbai Indians. Both the leaders have different styles and methods and strategies. While Rohit is said to be a more astute skipper who often makes the match-defining bowling change and is proactive with his field changes, Kohli is considered to be more of a reactive captain who inspires players through his personal performances.

While Kohli has a commendable record in terms of series wins for India, the incumbent Indian captain does not have a major world title for the country or RCB. Rohit Sharma has already won four IPL titles as captain of Mumbai Indians.

Dare we say who wins in the battle of the leaders!

A potential match between India and Mumbai Indians will be a fascinating encounter to say the least. It will ultimately come down to how the five common players, who are brilliant for their franchise, perform for the national team as the pressure and challenge of playing at the highest level for the country can make the best crumble.

If we really have to stick our necks out, on current form, the franchise may just get the better of the country!



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