Mumbai Indians instantly became the hot favourite for the IPL 2023 trophy, let alone the Qualifier 2 tie after their thunderous win against Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator at Chepauk on Wednesday. And why not. Since 2017, no team has ever beaten Rohit Sharma’s men in the playoffs. Ergo, their tally of five IPL titles. But on Friday, defending champions Gujarat Titans shattered the streak. Banking on home conditions and riding on a sensational batting show from Shubman Gill, followed by Mohit Sharma’s five-wicket haul, GT scripted an emphatic 62-run win to reach their second straight IPL final.
It wasn’t so that MI weren’t in the game. Against a mighty target of 234, a score never chased before in IPL history, Mumbai remained in the hunt until the 11th over with Suryakumar Yadav and Cameron Green having steadied the ship after the early blows to take MI to 123 for three. And after the latter’s departure, Suryakumar singled-handedly carried the momentum en route to which he scored a fifty as well.
However, with his dismissal in the 15th over, the remaining line-up crumbled in no time as MI were folded in 18.2 overs.
What Mumbai dearly missed on Friday was the perfect start in the powerplay, primarily provided by Ishan Kishan, who has had an impressive season so far. But he did not bat in the match against GT. Nehal Wadhera was asked to open after coming in as an Impact Player and managed only 3 off 4, while Vishnu Vinod replaced Ishan as a concussion substitute.
After the 16th over of Gujarat’s innings, which was bowled by Chris Jordan, the bowler was putting on his cap when Ishan, who was switching sides, collided with him. During the collision, Jordan’s elbow hit Ishan straight on his left eye. The match was halted as the physio was called in and later the wicketkeeper walked off the field.
The freak injury denied Rohit Sharma to open with Ishan and later MI were forced to go in with Vishnu as his replacement in the batting order.
“We did not expect that, he had a bit of a concussion, I don’t know how it happened,” said Rohit after MI’s heart-breaking defeat in Ahmedabad.