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ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsEtching their name in the history books as the most successful team of the tourney, Mumbai Indians pipped the likes of Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders to clinch their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title last year. Celebrating their decade-long journey with new silverware, Mumbai couldn't have done better entering the eleventh edition of country's cash-rich T20 league. As Chennai and Rajasthan Royals returned to the league after two years, the veteran campaigners found an immediate threat to their comeback with a proven champion in town. Leading the list of most title wins in IPL, Mumbai needed a new challenge and they found one in becoming only the second team - after Chennai - in the tournament's history to successfully defend their crown. But, winning a title, and then successfully defending it, aren't the same thing. If a triumphant campaign allows a team to leave a special mark in the tournament's legacy, it's successful defence further strengthens their claim as the legends of the game - a deed Mumbai is trying hard to cope up with. © BCCI Two very close games, and two heart-breaking defeats. After losing the opening match to the Chennai brigade, the Blues stuttered to their second consecutive loss of the season following a one-wicket defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium on 12th April. Put in to bat, the visitors found themselves on the backfoot early on as misfiring Rohit Sharma (11) once again failed to get going at the top. His opening partner Evin Lewis (29) was looking to improve on his duck from the opening game, but Siddarth Kaul rattled his stumps. The likes of Krunal Pandya (15) and Kieron Pollard (28) tried to rebuild the innings for their side but their stay at the crease was cut short as the hosts tightened the noose around Mumbai. From being 110/5 in almost 15 overs, Mumbai could only manage to score 37 runs in the final five overs at the loss of three more wickets, eventually finishing with a total of 147 runs. © BCCI The moderate target wasn't going to pose much of a problem to Hyderabad - a side that handed a royal pasting to Rajasthan in their opening game. A 62-run opening stand between Wriddhiman Saha (22) and Shikhar Dhawan (45) had got the 2016 Champions off to a steady start. But, Mayank Markande's shortish googly foxed Saha and eventually gave Mumbai a chance at redemption after their poor batting display. The 20-year-old leg-spinner picked three more crucial wickets - Dhawan, Manish Pandey (11) and Shakib Al Hasan (12) - to orchestrate Hyderabad's batting collapse who stuttered from 62/1 to 107/5 in a span of 37 deliveries. Yusuf Pathan (14) and Deepak Hooda (32*) brought them to within 12 runs of victory but Jasprit Bumrah struck on consecutive balls, breaking their partnership and dismissing Rashid Khan for a duck. Bumrah's heroics were followed up adequately by Mustafizur Rahman whose stellar penultimate over - where he took two wickets at the expense of just one run - left Hooda a herculean task of scoring 11 runs off six balls with just one wicket in hand. If Bumrah and Mustafizur had tilted the game in their team's favour, Ben Cutting's wayward follow-up in the final over allowed Hyderabad to run away with the game. © BCCI Conceding a six off a poor full-toss and then bowling a wide, Cutting couldn't have started the all-important over any worse. The Australian all-rounder did well to concede just three runs on the next four deliveries, but he couldn't stop Billy Stanlake - whose eyes lit up after seeing a slower delivery being bowled with almost everyone inside the ring - from smashing a four over midwicket. As the strong home crowd of 30,000 fans went into delirium, Mumbai inability to finish the game once again cut them a sorry figure at the end. The scenes in Hyderabad weren't too different from the ones recorded at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai's tournament opener - a game that also saw the defending champions struggling to hold their nerves and seal a win. Mumbai had romped to their third IPL title last year on the back of an all-around performance which further helped them in maintaining consistency throughout the tournament. Their batting was extremely productive - every batsman till No. 7 scored at least one half-century each and it was backed by some terrific bowling at all stages: the beginning, middle and death overs. © BCCI Combine all those things, and you have yourself a champion side. But, remove either of those and what you get is this season's Mumbai outfit which is faltering in crunch situations, struggling to get over the line and thereby still searching for their first IPL 2018 win. For a team that didn't just win the IPL trophy last season, but also claimed the title of 'Most Popular Team' - testified by over 83 million engagements across various digital platforms during the tournament, let's hope that the two consecutive losses are the early warnings Mumbai need to turn their campaign around, or else they will once again fail to successfully defend their crown - a jinx that has followed them ever since they won their first title back in 2013.