IPL 2024: Mumbai Indians’ Fall From Grace – What Went Wrong?

IPL 2024: Initially regarded as a title contender, Mumbai Indians are now all but eliminated. What went wrong?

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Around this time last year, Mumbai Indians were celebrating a return to normalcy. Not that the team won their sixth title, but after finishing plum last in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL), they reached the playoffs in 2023. That, too, without the services of two key players – Jasprit Bumrah, who was ruled out with an injury, and Kieron Pollard, who announced his retirement.

With the foundation being laid, the five-time champions ushered into a new era in 2024. Hardik Pandya – touted as India’s next T20I skipper – was traded in from Gujarat Titans, and also made the leader of the pack, whilst Rohit Sharma – the former skipper – was also retained.

That, there will be indignation initially from a section of the fanbase, was perceptible. Albeit, when the dust settled, there was no enmity. 

Considering the squad they had assembled, Mumbai were considered as among the prime contenders for the title. 

Yet, with three weeks of IPL action still to spare, Mumbai – a team blessed with the near-perfect amalgamation of Indian national team’s players and overseas stalwarts – are on the brink of elimination. With only three wins in 11 matches, they are languishing in the ninth position.

So, what went wrong for Mumbai Indians? Let’s find out.


Captain Pandya Took a Toll on Player Hardik

IPL 2024: Initially regarded as a title contender, Mumbai Indians are now all but eliminated. What went wrong?

IPL 2024: While there will be questions on his captaincy, Hardik Pandya's numbers as a batter has taken a nosedive this season.

(Photo: BCCI)

To pin the blame entirely on any particular individual would not be a fair analysis of Mumbai’s troubles – the position they find themselves in resulted from the cumulation of multifarious aspects. A notable aspect among those, unfortunately for the franchise, is Hardik Pandya’s captaincy.

The decision to trade him cannot be disputed – Pandya let Gujarat Titans to two consecutive finals, winning one of them and losing the other on the last delivery. Albeit, be it for the circumstantial milieu of his arrival, the intelligible leader of the last two seasons has cut a confused figure in Mumbai’s colours.

The conviction of having Pandya as an efficacious new-ball bowler has not paid dividends. Quite the contrary, in fact, as he has been among Mumbai’s most expensive bowlers in the powerplay, with only two wicket in 8 overs not compensating for his high economy rate either.

Economy rates of Mumbai Indians’ bowlers in powerplay: (minimum 3 overs)

  • Kwena Maphaka – 12.75

  • Hardik Pandya – 11.25

  • Nuwan Thushara – 11.25

  • Gerald Coetze – 10.82

  • Akash Madhwal – 8 

  • Mohammad Nabi – 7.33

  • Jasprit Bumrah – 5.76


With the bowling fallacy being established, what has hurt Mumbai more is the abrupt nosedive of his batting numbers. He was a consistent performer with the willow for Gujarat, having scored 833 runs across two seasons at an average of 37.86. This year, he has merely scored 198 runs, at an underwhelming average of 19.80.

A closer inspection would highlight a possible explanation for the dip in form – his batting position. All of those 833 runs for the Titans came at either number three or four. For Mumbai this year, he has never batted at three, but did so twice at four, faring fairly well on both occasions.

He scored a 33-ball 39 against Delhi Capitals and an unbeaten 6-ball 21 against Royal Challengers Bengaluru, with MI winning both of those matches.

The table below shows how the fluctuating batting positions have had an effect on Pandya’s returns with the bat.

Hardik Pandya’s position-wise batting statistics in IPL 2024:

Batting PositionInningsRunsAverageStrike Rate
Interestingly, Pandya's at number 7 is only 7.3, as opposed to an average of 60 at number 4 in IPL 2024. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, he has batted more times at 7 than at 4.

Whether it was his decision to play predominantly a finisher – a trait not known to be Pandya’s forte – or that of the management, is not known. What is, however, is that beyond his faults as the skipper, the batter Hardik Pandya was not utilised in the optimum fashion.


Faltering Top-Order

IPL 2024: Initially regarded as a title contender, Mumbai Indians are now all but eliminated. What went wrong?

IPL 2024: Mumbai Indians have had a knack for losing early wickets this season.

(Photo: BCCI)

Early wickets have been a major concern for Mumbai Indians, who have lost more wickets in powerplay than any other team in IPL 2024:

Most wickets lost in powerplay overs:

  • Mumbai Indians – 22

  • Delhi Capitals – 21

  • Lucknow Super Giants – 17

  • Sunrisers Hyderabad – 16

  • Punjab Kings – 16

Rohit Sharma had a fairly decent start to the season, but has scored only 65 runs in the last five matches. Barring a couple of knocks, Suryakumar Yadav has been unusually quiet, and so has Ishan Kishan. In such a scenario, the middle-order of Pandya, Tilak Varma, Nehal Wadhera and Tim David have had more responsibility than they would have ideally preferred.


Bowling in the Powerplay

IPL 2024: Initially regarded as a title contender, Mumbai Indians are now all but eliminated. What went wrong?

IPL 2024: MI have been ineffective with the new ball.

(Photo: BCCI)

It has been established that Pandya could not be influential with the new ball, but barring Bumrah, none of his teammates were either. Mumbai Indians have scalped 17 wickets in powerplay – that too after a decent outing against KKR on 3 April – as opposed to 18 of Rajasthan Royals, 18 of Lucknow Super Giants and 20 of Kolkata Knight Riders, who are currently the top three.

New signings Gerald Coetzee, Kwena Maphaka, Nuwan Thusara and Luke Wood have all been expensive.


Over-Reliance on Jasprit Bumrah

IPL 2024: Initially regarded as a title contender, Mumbai Indians are now all but eliminated. What went wrong?

IPL 2024: The five-time champions have been over-reliant on Jasprit Bumrah with the ball.

(Photo: BCCI)

Mumbai’s bowling unit has had two facets this season – a pristine one, which solitarily features Jasprit Bumrah, and a calamitous one, which features every other bowler bar the Indian pace spearhead.

The table below portrays the stark difference:

BowlerOversRunsWicketsEconomy Rate
Jasprit Bumrah43.5274176.25
Everyone else168.418424710.9

There is another intertwined trouble with the over-dependence on Bumrah. Since the pacer predominantly bowls in powerplay and at the death, Mumbai are left with an edentulate bowling unit in the middle-overs, which is also why they have the second-highest economy rate in overs 7 to 15.

Highest economy rates in overs 7-15:

  • Royal Challengers Bengaluru – 9.96

  • Mumbai Indians – 9.82

  • Sunrisers Hyderabad – 9.67

  • Rajasthan Royals – 8.86

  • Gujarat Titans – 8.68


Unceasing Chopping & Changing

Lastly, albeit it can be considered as an usual reaction to unsatisfactory results, but Mumbai Indians have made more knee-jerk changes than one would associate with a franchise known for producing and backing talents. They have used 20 players so far, with only RCB and DC – who are not in a good position in the playoffs race either – having used more players.

  • Royal Challengers Bengaluru – 22

  • Delhi Capitals – 21

  • Mumbai Indians – 20

  • Lucknow Super Giants – 20

  • Gujarat Titans – 20

  • Sunrisers Hyderabad – 18

  • Punjab Kings – 17

  • Rajasthan Royals – 17

  • Chennai Super Kings – 17

  • Kolkata Knight Riders – 17

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  rohit sharma   IPL   Indian Premier League 

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