Superstars VS. Superstars
Bad to Worse
Put Up A Fight
Make or Break
We Live To See Another Day
Across the world, every country has one sport that acts as the beating heart of the country. In England, many fans live and breathe football. In the US, NFL and wrestling are hugely popular whilst in India, it’s all about cricket. With one of the most prestigious leagues in the world and a country boasting a rich history embedded in the sport, Cricket Fever takes an intimate look at the 2018 season for the Mumbai Indians as they try to reach the top 4 of the Indian Premier League. Combining archival and fly on the wall footage, this 8 part documentary captures all the highs and lows of a tumultuous season gripped by pain and euphoria.
The opening episode begins with a look at the season ahead, including a brief look at the hierarchical group in charge of the Mumbai Indians. After a tense auction period, the team look ahead, hoping for a promising season that’ll take them to the top 4 once again. After getting to know some of the players, including Team Captain Rohit Sharma, the rest of the episodes combine team activities and training with footage of each of the games from the season. All of this builds toward the finale where the fate of this young squad depends on the outcome of two deciding games.
For the most part, Cricket Fever does well to capture the heart of the sport itself, with numerous reaction shots of the crowd and people in the street showing just how much this country lives and breathes cricket. Around these exciting matches, the training sessions and numerous talks between players really help you get behind the team too, with some episodes dedicated exclusively to the background and upbringing for different players. This makes it all the more emotional when you witness the elation and heartbreak of these players along the way.
As a personal gripe, I would have liked to see more of the league table throughout the 8 episodes. In total, I believe it was shown less than a handful of times and it really makes it difficult to gauge how the team are getting on in comparison to everyone else. While the cricket games themselves do showcase the usual TV statistic-driven player coverage, Cricket Fever does at least include establishing shots of the stadium with a reminder of how many runs each team need to stay in. Unlike Formula 1: Drive To Survive or Sunderland Til I Die, Cricket Fever’s lack of a dynamic league table does negate the importance of each game somewhat.
While Cricket Fever: Mumbai Indians is unlikely to change your opinion on the sport, there’s no denying this series makes for an enthralling, engaging watch nonetheless. There’s a distinct Indian flavour to this one too, helped along by a musical score packed with drums, sitars and sarangis. There’s also some strong editing here too that certainly helps build drama. Cricket lovers and fans of the IPL will love this trip down memory lane but there’s also enough drama and excitement here for everyone else too, making it another solid entry to Netflix’s growing sport documentary catalogue.