For the fifth year in the row, Mumbai Indians have made it—against the run of form, play, logic, bookies’ odds and overall quality—to the playoffs. What’s more, they did this by finishing second in the table, the only time they hit the spot throughout the group stages, in the very game against SRH. By winning that, they finished only behind perennial table-toppers CSK.
Malinga has become predictable, yet he has somehow managed to pick up wickets. He looks overweight, unfit and out of shape, and he has dropped more sitters than anybody else. But he has still been their best death bowler. And he reminded everyone how, despite his predictability, his Yorkers are impossible to play when directed at the toes. Dhawan will forever remember in their virtual quarterfinal, when MI destroyed SRH after the quick dismissals of Dhawan and Warner in the first two overs.
Suchith has brought energy into the field, and his slow left-arm bowling has made batsmen go after him, and fall to him. Rohit has marshaled his bowling well, after a dark first few games, and has taken charge with considerable resourcefulness.
Most importantly, Kieron Pollard has found his voice again. He has smacked the ball harder than every other West Indies, and has even been allowed to bowl crucial overs. Chawla and Hogg will remember the final over he bowled—Rohit’s mistake when he had run out of bowlers—and he defended 10 runs with a slow, off-cutting series of 6 balls.