The much-awaited 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick-start in a few hours. The defending champion, Mumbai Indians, under the leadership Rohit Sharma will take on two-time IPL champion Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings.

Ahead of the much-awaited clash of champions, here is our analysis of Mumbai Indians squad.

Undoubtedly, MI is the most successful IPL franchise. And Rohit Sharma most successful skipper in the last 10 editions of the cash-rich league.

The winning percentage of MI is 61.8 and that is the highest for any IPL squad.

Owned by Nita Ambani, Mumbai Indians appointed Rohit Sharma their skipper mid-way in 2013 and under his leadership (just in five years), Mumbai Indians had won three IPL trophies.

In the much-talked about IPL auction, MI retained their core team, besides spinner Harbhajan Singh and veteran Sri Lankan bowlers Lasith Malinga.

Be it, Rohit Sharma, hitter Kieron Pollard, start all-rounder Hardik Pandya to pacer Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins, MI squad have every possible thing to win the IPL 2018 trophy.

However, spin bowling is something that Mumbai Indians lack.

Batting Strength

The biggest strength of Mumbai Indians is skipper Rohit Sharma who can single-handedly lead MI winning matches. The presence of likes of Kieron Pollard is the added advantage. Pollard is the backbone of MI’s middle-order.

By retaining Pandya (Hardik and Krunal) brothers, the Mumbai-based team has made a smart decision as the alrounder duo can come handy as bowlers as well as batters.

Mumbai Indians have so many all-rounders, which is their biggest strength. But who will play in which match can be a difficult decision to make.

Bowling Strength

Indian speedster Jasprit Bumrah is expected to lead the bowling attack for Mumbai Indians. He will be assisted by Pat Cummins and Mustafizur Rahman. The trio has played enough T 20 cricket at the international level and can create havoc for any batting line-up.

Bumrah and Rahman will likely open the bowling for MI. Australian pacer Cummins can be seen bowling in the middle overs.

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya can also be used as the fourth bowler, if needed. New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan can also be roped in.

Where Mumbai Indians lack:

Not retaining Harbhajan Singh can prove dear to MI as it has limited options for spin bowling. Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar are what MI have, but can they match the likes of RCB’s Yuzvendra Chahal or KKR’s Sunil Narine?

Then there is Sri Lanka’s Akila Dhananjaya and Ankul Roy. But, Ankul lacks experience and playing Dhananjaya can mean dropping South African batsman Jean-Paul Duminy and that is very unlikely to happen.

Players who can be a threat to other teams: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Ben Cutting.

Mumbai Indians schedule and list of matches with venues:

Match 1 Saturday 7th April 2018

08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings

Match 9 Saturday 14th April 2018

04:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils

Match 14 Tuesday 17th April 2018

08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore

Match 21 Sunday 22nd April 2018

08:00 PM – Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur – Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians

Match 23 Tuesday 24th April 2018

08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad

Match 27 Saturday 28th April 2018

08:00 PM – MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai – Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians

Match 31 Tuesday 1st May 2018

08:00 PM – M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru – Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians

Match 34 Friday 4th May 2018

08:00 PM – Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali – Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians

Match 37 Sunday 6th May 2018

04:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders

Match 41 Wednesday 9th May 2018

08:00 PM – Eden Gardens, Kolkata – Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians

Match 47 Sunday 13th May 2018

08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals

Match 50 Wednesday 16th May 2018

08:00 PM – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai – Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab

Match 55 Sunday 20th May 2018

04:00 PM – Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi – Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians squad – Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan.