‘The six-hitting has been in Mumbai’s DNA for a while,’ – Mahela Jayawardene after winning IPL 2020

Written by Abhishek Patil

Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL franchise, having now lifted the IPL title in five different seasons. However, despite their success, the one thing that MI did not seem to break was their odd-even jinx. Ever since winning their maiden IPL title in 2013, MI had gone on to win their next three titles every alternate year – 2015, 2017 and 2019 – all ‘odd’ years. However, that jinx was broken on Tuesday as MI clinched a record-extending fifth IPL crown, and in the year 2020.

MI coach Mahela Jayawardene explained what it took to ensure the odd-even conundrum did not exist at the end of the tournament, saying the pressure of being defending champions hurt him and the team when the team could not replicate the success the year after their title wins.

“I wish I could explain myself. I don’t think it was easy. You have the tag of being champions and Mumbai not winning the even years – so I had to bring the boys together. What we’ve done is try and be consistent with the processes and preparation, trying to get the guys used to that. Not try to do anything more or less. Obviously, this year has been a little different. But the guys enjoyed that setup,” Jayawardene said after MI defeated Delhi Capitals by five wickets.

Barring Chennai Super Kings’ juggernaut in 2011, the 2020 season of the IPL is probably the most one-sided and dominant editions that come to mind. MI, who started off with a defeat, bossed the league stage to finish with 18 points and make it to the playoffs before beating the Capitals twice – Qualifier and final. At no stage were MI challenged, and a major bit of that domination has to do with the fact that MI have the most dangerous looking batting unit with six-hitters Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya lined up in their middle order.

“I think the six-hitting has been in Mumbai’s DNA for a while. What we try is to play to a tempo, the touch play. Credit to the franchise who allow us to do this, make a bit of history. It’s all about helping them prepare and make sure they understand the roles they play, making things easy for them,” Jayawardene added.

“We’ve got a leadership group out there so we try and give them a bit of work to do. The boys have heard my other side [the one that’s no soft-spoken], once in a while. They showed what they can do out there.”

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Abhishek Patil