HOME GROUND: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

CAPTAIN: Rohit Sharma

COACH: Mahela Jayawardene

IPL 2016 RESULT: 5th in points table

BEST RESULT: Champions in 2013, 2015

RELEASED: Corey Anderson, Marchant de Lange, Unmukt Chand, Akshay Wakhare, Nathu Singh, Kishore Kamath, Martin Guptill, Jerome Taylor.

PURCHASED: Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, Krishnappa Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Asela Gunaratne, Kulwant Khejroliya.

This team, owned by Nita Ambani of Reliance Industries is one of the most successful IPL teams - one of three teams to have won the IPL trophy twice. In the 2017 IPL Auction, the Mumbai Indians didn't go after many big names and they didn't make headlines with any huge purchases as they seemed to be pretty happy with their retained players from IPL 2016.

This team was the defending champions last year but they didn't manage to even qualify for the playoffs thanks to a very bad start to their season. The team led by Rohit Sharma has had bad starts two years in a row now and they will want to start IPL 2017 on a winning note so that they don't have to play catch up towards the end. Rohit was their only batsman in the top 15 run scorers last year with 489 runs (5 fifites) and he will need more support with the bat this season.

Already having three wicket-keeper batsmen in Ambati Rayudu, Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler, we were confident that a wicket-keeper was not on MI's bucket-list but they surprised us (like they always do) by picking up West Indian left-handed wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran for his base price of Rs.30 lakh.

Their best buy at the IPL 2017 Auction if you ask me, was Asela Gunaratne, who became famous for his back-to-back fifties against Australia down under that won Sri Lanka the T20 series - he was purchased at his base price of 30 lakh!

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Mumbai Indians!

While there is a good chance that one foreign player (Lendl Simmons or Nicholas Pooran) may give Rohit company at the top, Mumbai have one department where they struggle and that is their middle order (Parthiv Patel may also open to allow an extra foreign bowler/all-rounder). A couple of early wickets and MI generally find themselves in a tough spot but I'm a huge fan of the Pandya brothers that will be a part of this middle order.

While Hardik was the hero a couple of years back, last year it was his elder brother Krunal Pandya who hogged the limelight scoring 237 runs and picking up 6 wickets. Hardik was a real disappointment in IPL 2016, scoring only 44 runs and picking up just 3 wickets. However, I can assure you of one thing and that is if both the brothers turn it up this year, winning matches will not be too much of a problem for the men in blue.

Now let's talk about their bowling attack that consists of Mitchell Johnson, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan - two foreign bowlers are almost certainly going to be a constant part of the playing eleven this season. While the slinger Malinga missed last season due to injury, he is back and that is huuuuuge news for MI as he already finished with the Purple Cap once in IPL 2011 and his wickets tally will surely be among the top if he manages to maintain fitness.

His yorkers at the death will be very vital while Bumrah has also become a death overs specialist of late, which means that MI will be looking to give away minimal runs towards the last few overs; Bumrah picked up 15 wickets last season.

MI purchased Mitchell Johnson in the IPL 2017 Auction and they will be happy to have him back - his recent showing in the last couple of games at the Big Bash is what has earned him this contract of Rs.2 crore, but they will certainly find it tough to keep out McClenaghan who was their best bowler last year - 17 wickets!

Mumbai have a habit of losing early on and picking up the pace towards the end of the season but they will be wanting to begin with a win this season and they kick off their campaign in Game 2 of IPL 2017 -  at 20:00 IST.

All-rounder Corey Anderson was released and they picked up much cheaper all-rounders in Gunaratne and Karn Sharma. I sense a better performance from MI in IPL 2017 and they are second favourite to lift their third IPL trophy at a best price of 6 with bet365

Mumbai Indians Squad for IPL 2017:

Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Shreyas Gopal, K Gowtham, Asela Gunaratne, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, K Khejroliya, Siddhesh Lad, Mitch McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Ambati Rayudu, Jitesh Sharma, Karn Sharma, Lendl Simmons, Tim Southee, J Suchith, Saurabh Tiwary, Vinay Kumar.  

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