The loss of fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer to injuries left a difficult void for the Mumbai Indians to fill, manager Mark Boucher said after his team’s IPL exit.
The five-time winners fell to the champions Gujarat Titans in the final playoff on Friday to withdraw from the T20 competition they last won in 2020.
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On a batting-friendly ground in Ahmedabad, the Mumbai bowlers were on the receiving end of Shubman Gill’s 60-ball 129 which took Gujarat to 233-3.
South African Boucher, in his first season with Mumbai, said the replacement players offered their best efforts but were still not good enough for a place in the final.
“If you’re losing your quality players, it’s going to leave a gap,” Boucher told reporters after his team’s 62-run thrashing.
“To not blame anyone, these things happen in sports, injuries happen in sports and you have to deal with it.”
He added: “I thought the guys we brought in did their best in a situation where they probably weren’t picked up front.”
The team, captained by Rohit Sharma, knew Bumrah would miss the season as the Yorker specialist underwent lower back surgery in March and has been sidelined since September last year.
But the team suffered a blow when England’s Archer, recovering from an elbow injury, went home after playing just five games, to be replaced by compatriot Chris Jordan.
Mumbai bought Archer for $1.06 million at last year’s auction despite the fact that the speedster was unavailable for the entire season.
Boucher, regarded as one of the best wicketkeepers in the world during his playing days, said Mumbai may need to replace some members of the team in future.
“Hopefully the guys can get over the injuries. If they can’t, then we have to look elsewhere,” Boucher said.
But he declined to name individual names.
“There are so many things we can talk about, but for me to open a can of worms now would be stupid,” he said.
“I think it’s time to just sit back, reflect a bit, wash away the emotion and make some good, wise cricketing decisions once everything settles down and once we understand the future of certain people and where they are from a fitness perspective. . .”
Mumbai won the tournament under Rohit in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, but followed up their latest title with two poor seasons, including a bottom-place finish in the 10-team table last year.
They signed Australian all-rounder Cameron Green for $2.11 million at the auction, making it the second most expensive buy in tournament history.
After a hot and cold group stage, Mumbai sneaked into the final four and then defeated Lucknow Super Giants in a knockout match.
“Getting to the playoffs is a nice achievement,” Boucher said. “Obviously disappointed by the result tonight, but I thought we fought until the end.”
Results in the Twenty20 tournament “can go either way,” he added. “So it’s quite a stressful competition.”