IPL team preview: Mumbai Indians

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The defending champions will have a tough time retaining their title this year, given their talisman, Sachin Tendulkar, is not playing, and they have lost the services of premier paceman Mitchell Johnson.

<b>Captain</b>: Rohit Sharma<br><b>Coach</b>: Robin Singh<br><b>IPL Best</b>: Winner (2013)<br><b>Cricket365 prediction:</b> Fourth

<b>Overview</b>The defending champions will have a tough time retaining their title this year, given their talisman, Sachin Tendulkar, is not playing, and they have lost the services of premier paceman Mitchell Johnson, who was a key part of their charge to the title last year. But, they have made some smart signings in Ben Dunk, Corey Anderson, Mike Hussey and Krishmar Santokie, and still have Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard to call on. They have a tough first few games though, and must get off to a cracking start if they're to build momentum.

<b>Key Batsman</b><br>Veteran batsman Mike Hussey was vital to Chennai's success in the past, and now he will give Robin Singh some fire power in the top order, replacing Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, who did not do as well as expected. He is one of the most reliable players in the world, and has played with freedom since his retirement from international cricket. Opposing teams will not feel content until he's back in the dug out.

<b>Key Bowler</b><br>If you've watched the Asia Cup and then the World Twenty20, both of which Sri Lanka won, then this is a no-brainer. Lasith Malinga is the best death bowler in the world, for the simple reason that he bowls yorker after yorker. He causes mistakes, and with the pressure on, it's tough to escape that dirty ball slung at your toes with the crowd roaring around Wankhede.

<b>Likely Benchwarmer</b><br>We're going to say South African paceman Marchant de Lange won't get too much game time, given his constant injuries and lack of top level game time in recent months. With Malinga, Zaheer Khan and Santokie in the side, with recent success and past experience, De Lange could prove one paceman too many. He'll play, but not often.

<b>They Said</b>: New signing Ben Dunk: "I think it is a great opportunity to perform on an international stage against international players, and, as we have seen in the past, selectors have noticed that. I think more importantly it is essential to be consistent. I had a great BBL, and, if I can continue that form on for a long period of time, then selection will take care of itself."

<b>Squad</b>: Rohit Sharma, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Aditya Tare, Jasprit Bumrah, Jalaj Saxena, Josh Hazlewood, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie, Ben Dunk, CM Gautam, Apporv Wankhade, Pawan Suyal, Sushant Marathe, Shreyas Gopal

<b>Fixtures</b><br>Wed Apr 16 Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders<br>Sat Apr 19 Royal Challengers Bangalore v Mumbai Indians<br>Fri Apr 25 Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians<br>Sun Apr 27 Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians<br>Wed Apr 30 Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad<br>Sat May 3 Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab<br>Tue May 6 Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore<br>Sat May 10 Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings<br>Mon May 12 Sunrisers Hyderabad v Mumbai Indians<br>Wed May 14 Kolkata Knight Riders v Mumbai Indians<br>Mon May 19 Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians<br>Wed May 21 Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians<br>Fri May 23 Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils<br>Sun May 25 Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals

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