It is the seventh time in ten IPL seasons when Mumbai Indians have qualified in top four of the tournament. Mumbai Indians have always been a stable and dominant side and it has only been thrice when they have not been able to make it to the playoffs. This time they are not facing Chennai Super Kings or Royal Challengers Bangalore in the playoffs but an entirely new franchise, making their first appearance in the playoffs, Rising Pune Supergiant. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
In 2008 and 2009 seasons, Mumbai didn’t qualify for the semifinals and finished in the league standings fifth and seventh respectively. The playoff journey for Mumbai started in the 2010 season when they faced Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first semifinal at D.Y. Patil Stadium. Mumbai scored a massive 185 with Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary and Kieron Pollard smashing quick runs and restricted Bangalore to 149, winning by 35 runs. Unfortunately, they were not able to continue their form in the final as they lost to Chennai Super Kings by 22 runs at home with their batting unable to click in front of attacking Chennai bowling unit.
The 2011 season also saw Mumbai in playoffs after finishing third in the table. The eliminator match for Mumbai proved to be a huge disappointment as they ended up losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 43 runs. It was a Chris Gayle show at the MA Chidambaram stadium when he smashed 85 of 47 balls, setting up a mammoth total of 186. In reply Mumbai was only able to reach to 143 with Sachin Tendulkar scoring 40 – the highest – for the side. Consecutive two seasons failure was a huge blow to Mumbai players’self-confidence with just being a few steps away from the trophy.
In 2012, Mumbai managed to make it to the playoffs, finishing fourth in the table. Another elimination match in consecutive seasons for Mumbai was their bad luck as they had to face one of the strongest side that season – Chennai Super Kings. Chennai piled up a huge total of 187 with Dhoni, Mike Hussey and S. Badrinath contributing equally to Mumbai’s misery. In reply, Mumbai was bowled out for 149 as their batting again failed while chasing a target above 180.
The glory season finally arrived for Mumbai in 2013 when they clinched their first IPL title after defeating Chennai in the final. Mumbai finished first in the table and had to face Rajasthan Royals in the playoffs. This was the first time when they successfully chased down a target in a playoff match, getting past Rajasthan’s 165 to book their place in the final. The final was against the two time IPL champions Chennai at the Eden Gardens where Mumbai defended a low score of 148 runs and bowled Chennai out for mere 125 runs. Some superb bowling performances by Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh were responsible for Mumbai’s maiden IPL triumph.
For the consecutive fifth time Mumbai made it to the playoffs. In 2014, they finished fourth and faced Chennai in the eliminator for the second time in the IPL history. The bad luck returned for Mumbai as they lost the eliminator to Chennai by seven wickets at the Brabourne stadium. After scoring a challenging 173 on the board, Mumbai bowlers couldn’t stop in-form Chennai line-up with Suresh Raina (54) and David Hussey (40) clinching the match.
Mumbai have never dropped their form in the IPL after the first two seasons and with their consistency they have always been a threat for the other teams even after losing first four or five matches in the group stages. They used to pick up slowly but always made sure to continue their winning form till the last group match.
In 2015 they continued their dominance clinching their second IPL title. They faced Chennai Super Kings for the third time in the playoffs and made it count for the second time after defeating them by 25 runs. Playing at the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai had the home advantage and they made full use of it. Batting first on a flat wicket, they smashed 187 for six with Pollard and Simmons. In reply Chennai was bowled out for 162. In the final match Mumbai faced the same opponents and again came victorious by 41 runs as they scored 202 batting first and bowled out Superkings for 161 in the final at the Eden Gardens.
This will be the sixth time when Mumbai will be in the playoffs and with the added home advantage they can prove to be destructive with batting firepower and some match turning all-rounders in the side. Mumbai has mostly been effective while batting first in the playoff matches as they perform without any pressure and play their best game when setting up a target. So this time the Mumbai fans would be hoping for their team to bat first and set a massive total on the board for the Rising Pune Supergiant.