MI and GT Knocked Out Despite High Expectations

Mumbai and Gujarat have been eliminated from the IPL 2024. (Source: X.com)

Even before the start of this year’s IPL, there was a lot of chatter surrounding two IPL-winning teams: Mumbai Indians (MI) and Gujarat Titans (GT). These teams were at the centre of one of the biggest trade deals in IPL history. Hardik Pandya made a return to his former franchise, Mumbai, from GT, where he was captain for two years. Replacing Rohit Sharma came as a surprise to many in the cricketing community. This move raised two major questions: Why did GT let go of their captain, and how did MI appoint Pandya as their skipper? Amidst these queries, a significant turn of events happened.

The events unfolded swiftly but were undeniably fascinating. Mumbai Indians had introduced Pandya to the cricketing world back in 2015, playing a crucial role in his early career development before GT propelled him to greater heights. MI’s influence on Pandya’s career trajectory was undeniable, explaining their eagerness to bring him back at any cost.

GT’s loss was perceived as a gain for Mumbai before the IPL began. With Pandya’s return, MI’s already star-studded batting lineup and bowling department were expected to receive a significant boost. However, fast forward to May 8 and MI became the first team to be eliminated from IPL 2024. Despite boasting a near-perfect blend of international players (Indian) and overseas stars, the team struggled to find the right balance throughout the season.

Jasprit Bumrah stood out even as Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, and Ishan Kishan struggled, contributing to Mumbai’s woes this season. The team appeared unsettled from the start, with reported tension stemming from a change in captaincy. Skipper Pandya appeared uncertain in his leadership role, struggling both with his own performance and decision-making on the field. Mumbai’s five-time IPL-winning squad seemed to collectively suffer from a dip in form rather than individual shortcomings.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat Titans found themselves out of the Playoffs race after a crucial match against Kolkata Knight Riders was washed out, sealing their fate mathematically. This was in Ahmedabad on Monday night. Shubman Gill, GT’s captain, was eager for a win but was thwarted by adverse weather conditions. GT’s season was plagued from the start due to the absence of key players like Pandya and Mohammed Shami. Pandya’s departure, in particular, left a big void in the team, as he had been instrumental in their past successes.

Despite reaching the final in the previous season, GT struggled to replicate their form due to various players failing to perform consistently. Gill’s inexperience in captaincy was evident, compounded by underwhelming performances from Rashid Khan, David Miller, and a few more. Despite experimenting with different lineups, GT couldn’t find a winning formula, largely due to the absence of Pandya.