After eight defeats Mumbai Indians win at long last

By Kersi Meher-Homji

It was a birthday of mixed fortune for Rohit Sharma, the captain of Mumbai Indians (MI). He was dismissed cheaply but his team won by five wickets in the final over. It was something to celebrate as MIs had lost their first eight matches.

Sent in to bat Rajasthan Royals scored 6 for 158 in the allotted 20 overs. Opener Jos Buttler (from England) gave his team a terrific start, his aggressive 67 included 5 fours and 4 sixes off 4 balls. Sensational hitting!

In reply MI started poorly losing skipper Sharma for only two runs. His batting partner Ishan Kishan batted with flare, his 26 included 4 fours and a six.

Then Suryakumar Yadav took over with a breezy 51 with 5 fours and 2 sixes. He added 81 runs for the fourth wicket with Tilak Varma (35 runs with a four and 2 sixes).

Now came the thrilling final over from tall quickie Kuldeep Sen with MI needing four runs with six wickets in hand. But the big hitter Kieron Pollard (from West Indies) was caught in the deep off the first ball. The Mumbai supporters were nervous and praying for their team’s first victory this year.

Cool as a cucumber the next man in Daniel Sam (from Australia) hit the first ball he received for a huge six and MI had won by 5 wickets with 4 balls remaining.

Suryakumar Yadav was made Person of the Match. He said at the presentation, “I think it was really important in that situation to play until the end. My job at number 3 was to take the game ahead from where Rohit left and very happy with the way things ended. It was a good one from the team’s point of view. Losing so many games, that was an important win to have a good atmosphere amongst the team.

[Asked where he feels is his best position to bat] “I have enjoyed batting at all the positions, but I love batting at No. 3 because the situation I go in, I can pace my innings accordingly looking at the situation. I love batting at No. 3, but at the same time I am really flexible.

[What does the win do for team morale?] “It spreads loads and loads and loads of positivity. At practice sessions, we are enjoying each other’s company and not thinking about what’s coming ahead, just living the moment and enjoying it.”

Birthday ‘boy’ skipper Rohit Sharma said [When asked if this was a good birthday gift] “I would definitely take it. That’s how we play. The real potential came out today, with the ball especially. We knew it was gonna be tough to restrict them to that total, but I thought they kept applying the pressure. With that batting line-up, we knew if we keep taking wickets, it’s going to be difficult for them. So that’s what we wanted to try and we did that perfectly today.

[On what went right today] “This is the team we played in the first couple of games except for a few bowling changes. When you have a season like that, you’re not sure of your combination. You want to try out so many things, and that’s obvious because you’re trying to get the right combination. The conditions are different. When you play at DY Stadium in Navi Mumbai, the ball tends to grip a little bit. But when you play at CCI, Wankhede, Pune, the pitches seem to be absolutely flat there. With that in mind, we try to field the best combination. Yes, it hasn’t worked for the eight games we played, but we were not blown away by the opposition. We came really close and we lost crucial games. Had we won those, things would be different for us.

[On the spinners Shokeen and Kartikeya] “Both of these guys are quite courageous. When you speak to them, you know that they want to do something special and they don’t want to go in hiding. It gives me that confidence to bowl them at any given stage. It was a brave call when I got Shokeen to bowl to Buttler when he was absolutely set. Yes, he got a few sixes but eventually he got him out and that helped us to restrict them to another 10 or 15 runs. If you look at the overall picture, we played very well. Bowlers came together and the batters did the job for us as well.”

Gujarat Titans are on top of the Table with 16 points followed by Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants with 12 points each. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore are joint fourth with 10 points each. Mumbai Indians are still last at number 10 with 2 points.

Short URL: