Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma Sunday described IPL as a funny tournament in which any team can beat any other on a particular day while also asserting his team’s habit of coming back stronger in the later stages of the league. "It is something we know about the IPL that the business end matters, we always come back well in the second half of this tournament. In all the three trophies that we’ve won, the boys have picked themselves up in the business end,” Rohit said after MI thrashed Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets to top the IPL table.
“IPL is a funny tournament, any team can beat the other on a day and we want to take few tiny steps,” he added.
He credited Sunday’s easy win to team effort and said it showed his side did not depend on just a few players.
“It was the team effort that pleased me the most. We don’t depend on a few individuals to take us through, there are a lot of characters who put their hand up and took us through,” the captain said.
“Today, the entire bowling attack used the pitch and their variations really well to keep a line up like KKR quiet.”
On a personal note, he said, “My daughter has been coming here every day to watch me play, but I didn’t get a lot of runs earlier. It was nice to get some runs today, but she was sleeping.”
MI all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was named man of the match for his bowling figures of 3 for 20 in KKR’s total of 133 for 7, said getting the award for his effort with the ball was pleasing.
“To be honest as a batsman, there is nothing better than hitting a ball. People don’t expect a lot from my bowling, neither do I, but it feels nice,” he said.
“I definitely look at myself as a four-over bowler, I am ready to do whatever my team wants me to do, bowl four, ten or even fifteen overs in a Test match. We have one more bowling option and it helps when somebody has an off day,” he added.
“Krunal (his brother) was telling me that I generate the power from my hip and core, but I really don’t know where I get my power from.”
Asked about MI’s Qualifier 1 match against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, he said, “Definitely, Chennai is a different challenge, it will be a cracker of a game. We just hope to get the best out of that one and go through to the finals.
KKR captain Dinesh Karthik said his side did not find the momentum after the 6-over mark while poor batting and regular wickets did not help either.
“We simply did not get going. When we batted, the wicket was not easy for stroke-making and the ball was certainly stopping a bit. The Mumbai bowlers were good at bowling cutters and they exploited that extremely well. The dew in second innings made batting easier slightly, but that's not an excuse."
Asked if his side's most prolific batsman Andre Russell could have been made to bat higher in the order, he said, "There was an opportunity to bat up the order for Andre Russell, but expecting him to deliver every time is unfair and he has been fantastic throughout the tournament for us."
On his running catch to dismiss MI opener Quinton de Kock, he said, "It's all about attitude, and the will to win, but sometimes things don't go your way. Not our best season, there are a lot of areas for us to improve on, and I'm sure we will come back stronger next year."