Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Mumbai Indians. After conceding 233 runs in Qualifier 2 semi-final against Gujarat Titans practically on the belt of a track at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad; MI could not open with Ishan Kishan suffering an unintentional injury to his eye by a Chris Jordan elbow, and was replaced by Vishnu Vinod (concussion sub) and MI’s batting lynchpin Cameron Green was forced to bat in the second over. Had to retire later. Hardik Pandya’s rising ball took a blow to his elbow.
To make matters worse, Rohit Sharma skied backward of length while angling in Joshua Little’s delivery, who ran in from deep fine to complete a simple catch.
But that’s not where things went awry for the five-time defending champion. Shubman Gill’s innings (129 off 60 balls; 7×4 10×6) will blur very well for MI bowlers but if you look at the moment Gill decided to have fun, it would be the 6th over .
Gill was batting till then scoring 21 runs in 17 balls. Chris Jordan, the bowler, decided to test Gill with a short-pitched delivery – a 112 kmph cutter, but it turned out to be a half-tracker and Gill attacked it hard, his first of ten sixes on the night. Hit the first – that was Gill’s first aerial shot of the night.
Gill had come in, he was noticed and the moment he thought of changing gears, he was handed a plate to do so. Next delivery, short of a length and Gill throws it through the line to cover.
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David’s Big Miss
For the fourth delivery, Jordan bowled it full and Gill checked his drive and the ball went to Tim David at mid-on. The ball hit the bucket like in David’s hands, but the Australian could not catch it and spilled. Gill gets to 30 as the Titans reach 50/0. And it was the last chance to be given to Gil Mi before finally falling after a majestic innings of the highest quality.
As good as it was though, Gill’s innings also exposed the fragility of this Mumbai Indians lineup. The fact that MI batsmen have managed five 200-plus scores this season – the most by any team in any season in IPL history – may be good reading for batsmen, but not so much for bowlers.
lack of bites throughout the season
In fact, MI bowlers have conceded 200 or 200 plus six times, 190+ twice. Before the start of Qualifier 2 – MI’s bowling had conceded 2620 runs in the season so far, the most by any team. This is a telling figure. Despite finishing in the top four, MI actually conceded more runs than Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings, who incidentally were the second worst team in this metric this season. In contrast, MI are on top when it comes to scoring runs with 2592.
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Then again, hindsight is always 20/20, innit?
MI were initially hurt by Jasprit Bumrah, Jhye Richardson’s unavailability and Jofra Archer’s injury concern. His first-choice pace battery was practically wiped out and the batsmen were always ready to step it up and kudos to them for taking MI into the playoffs.
Perhaps the one match in which the bowlers put up a tough fight was the eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants. Of the four matches that MI won, only LSG had a bigger margin of victory – 81 runs.
While Piyush Chawla would return as their best bowler with 22 wickets in 16 matches; MI bowling was poor throughout. With injuries and failing to buy a solid Indian domestic (capped/uncapped) bowler from the auction, MI didn’t have much left to play for.
He started the season with left-handers Arshad Khan and Arjun Tendulkar in the first seven, then gave Akash Madhwal a chance alongside Chris Jordan for death overs duty. Bounced in between Australian Riley Meredith, and South African Duane Jansen. In the spin bowling department, apart from Chawla, they had offie Hrithik Shokeen, leg-spinners Raghav Goel and Kumar Kartikeya, whose left-armer had an ineffective season.
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Cam Green took 6 wickets in 38 overs at 60.16 and 9.50 in 16 matches. Jason Behrendorff, filling in for Archer really hung on with 14 wickets at 27.64 and an economy of 9.21.
And the fragility of this attack came to the fore on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium with the baby goat – Shubman Gill taking the MI bowlers to the cleaners. Sai Sudarshan did the job when the sun came out, while Hardik Pandya provided the finishing touches.
It seemed that Mi went into a knife encounter.
His hero learned a tough lesson from eliminator Madhwal on how cruel the IPL can be and how merciless batsmen can be. He was good at bowling yorkers, but Rohit Sharma relied heavily on him to give him the middle overs and thought he might surprise Gill with short pitched balls, but after a good 5 minutes of rain before the start There is moisture in the track. The game meant, at its own pace, Madhwal’s short deliveries sat well for Gill’s lofty pulls and jabs.
Madhwal, after 3.3-0-5-5 on the second night, returned to 4-0-52-1. Chawla went for 15 runs per over, Jordan 14 and Green 11.66. Only Behrendorff and Kartikeya were unharmed. 233 in a knockout game was always going to be a tough proposition, even for the Sky, even for the team that chased down most 200+ targets in a season, and that’s what happened. Sky hit hard with a 38-ball 61 while Tilak Verma added to his reputation with a 20-ball 43.
Ultimately it seemed that MI went into a gun fight with knife in hand and shot, point blank.