Joseph injury set to see him miss remainder of IPL
Alzarri Joseph, the Mumbai Indians' hero debutant from last week, will most likely miss the remainder of the IPL after injuring his right arm during a clash against the Rajasthan Royals. He injured it while diving in the field.
The loss will be a significant one for the Indians. Joseph himself was already acting as a replacement to injured New Zealand quick Adam Milne, and given the lack of depth the team had demonstrated in their bowling lineup outside of Jasprit Bumrah, they could ill afford to lose another front line bowler.
Joseph announced himself on the world scene with an extraordinary debut which saw him pick up 6/12 as the Indians routed Sunrisers Hyderabad for just 97. A record-breaking achievement, the spell saw him pick up a wicket a little over every 3.5 deliveries, taking out David Warner, Vijay Shankar and Deepak Hooda before rolling through the tail.
In the two games since, however, Joseph has failed to replicate anything like his debut heroics, something that will perhaps ease the minds of Mumbai supporters as they search for his replacement. His second match saw him bowl just two overs, being taken for 22 runs (19 of which were scored by KL Rahul), though he did then go on to hit the winning runs in the second innings.
In his most recent match, the one in which he injured himself, he was taken for 53 off just three overs. In that match, after conceding 25 in his first two overs, Joseph returned to bowl the 13th over with Jos Buttler in full flight and was quickly dispatched from the attack. Buttler started and ended the over with a six and smacked four boundaries in between, accumulating 28 from it and sending Joseph hurtling from the attack. A few overs later, with the game in the balance and just an over and a half remaining, Joseph injured himself, and that was likely the end of his IPL campaign.
A campagin which saw him announce himself on the world scene before quickly being reminded of the consistency required to perform regularly at a high level on the biggest stage. His loss will leave a relatively thin Mumbai Indians bowling attack even thinner, and Jasprit Bumrah will be forced to take on a major load for the remainder of the tournament.
Currently, they find themselves delicately poised in fourth position, tied on points with the Kolkata Knight Riders in third and Kings XI Punjab in fifth – though they have played one less game. With seven games required they'll most likely need at least three or four more wins to qualify for the finals. To do so, it's reasonable to expect they'll need to put up some big scores, something they are certainly capable given the talent and depth of their batting lineup.
From a bowling perspective, however, things will be challenging. At the time of his injury it's difficult to say whether Joseph is a major loss or not – he was integral in Mumbai's impressive win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, but since then has leaked runs at an alarming rate and failed to take any wickets. It's possible he was on the chopping block in any case, but regardless, the loss of one more bowler does little to help the plight of their bowling attack, despite his recent struggles. It will take a lot of work for Mumbai to hang on to fourth spot – and their next four games, which see them come up against the top two teams in the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals, and the bottom two in Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rajasthan Royals, could have a major role in determining if they can do it.