After Mumbai Indians’ below par performance in IPL 2018, they came back strongly in 12th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL 2019). They finished the league stage on a high to become table toppers with 18 points in 14 games. However, MI had a shaky start of their IPL 2019 campaign but they overcame the initial slump with some brilliant individual performance and made it to the IPL 2019 finals defeating the defending champions Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1, on their own backyard. Though Super Kings made it to the record 8th final after crushing Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2, it will interesting to see whether Mumbai Indians beat ‘daddy’s army’ for the 4th time in IPL 2019. Meanwhile, let's take a look how Mumbai Indians’ journey this year.
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Mumbai Indians road to IPL 2019 final
Mumbai had a shaky start of their IPL 2019 campaign as rechristened Delhi Capitals defeated them in their opening match. DC’s young keeper Rishabh Pant sent Jasprit Bumrah and co for a leather hunt as he smashed 27-ball 78. They came back to winning ways in a last over thriller at Chinnaswamy against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The match was marred by a last over no ball controversy after Bumrah brilliant penultimate over, where he conceded only six runs. After beating RCB, MI went for another away fixture against Kings XI but this time KXIP defeated them as KL Rahul took his side to victory, scoring 71 not out.
In IPL 2019, Rajasthan Royals were the only team who defeated Mumbai twice both in away and home fixture. However, Mumbai completed double over RCB with a convincing five-wicket win before demolishing Delhi at Kotla. Mumbai Indians are the only team in this season that defeated Chennai at Chepauk as Malinga played a crucial role, taking 4-37, to bundle out CSK for mere 109 while defending 156. Mumbai then moved to Eden Gardens, where they nearly chased 233 runs as Hardik Pandya scored 34-ball 91 to singlehandedly take MI for an improbable win.
Mumbai qualified for playoffs after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad in a Super over thriller. Mumbai Indians defeated CSK for the third time this years in qualifier 1 and hold an psychological advantage ahead of finals.
What changed Mumbai Indians fortune in IPL 2019
Stand-in captain Kieron Pollard's incredible 31-ball 83 trumped KL Rahul's unbeaten century as Mumbai Indians edged out Kings XI Punjab in a thriller on April 10. Stepping in for the injured Rohit Sharma, Pollard promoted himself to No. 4 and took it upon himself to chase down the stiff target of 198, which MI crossed on the final ball. His innings, studded with 10 sixes and three fours, proved to be the difference on the night which saw Rahul (100* off 64) and Chris Gayle (63 off 36) also play big knocks.
Pollard walked in the eighth over and took charge from a situation which saw Mumbai needing 133 from the last 10 overs, and fell with only three balls remaining. At the half-way mark, they were 65 for 3 with two new batsmen in the middle. One of those batsmen, though, was Pollard. He changed the course of the game from that stage, beginning with an onslaught against Sam Curran in the 12th over hitting two sixes and a four. Ishan Kishan was run out in the same over, but Pollard carried on, smashing R Ashwin for two sixes two overs later. Pollard’s knock gave Mumbai Indians a much needed momentum and belief to pull off victory in adverse situations.
Mumbai Indians have signed Alzarri Joseph after New Zealand's Adam Milne was ruled out of IPL 2019 due to heel injury. After Lasith Malinga missed few IPL games due to his mandatory participation in Sri Lanka’s domestic league, Joseph get a place in MI playing 11. He justified his position by putting a brilliant performance in his debut game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, picking 6/12 while defending below par 136 against orange army at Hyderabad. Though he get injured against Rajasthan Royals and ruled out of remainder of IPL 2019 but his performance gave MI bowling line up confidence to see beyond Jasprit Bumrah and Malinga.
Malinga marked an impressive comeback to IPL 2019 after getting unsold last year. In four matches, Malinga took two four-wicket hauls. He had to cut short his IPL campaign to play for domestic league in Sri Lanka. But what he achieved in less than 12 hours will be an inspiration for youngsters. After helping Mumbai stall the Chennai Super Kings juggernaut at the Wankhede Stadium, with the vital wickets of Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav and Dwayne Bravo, he took a 1.40am flight from Mumbai, landed home at 4.30am and finally dashed to Kandy by 7am to turn out for Galle in the domestic 50-over tournament. Malinga made it by memorable outing by grabbing a career-best 7 for 49, eighteen seasons after making his List A debut. After completion of domestic league, he again joined Mumbai Indians and strengthens the MI bowling attack in absence of Joseph, Jason Behrendoff.