Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma lauded his bowling unit for putting a great fight till the end but rued the fact that they were probably 20 runs short on what he described as a tough pitch to bat on at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Batting first, Mumbai Indians looked set for a big total after they had smashed their way to 3/120 in just 14 over. However, Harshal Patel, in an inspired spell of three overs, completely broke the back of their middle-order to reduce them to 9/159 in 20.
Patel dismissed Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan in his 2nd and 3rd over and then backed it up with the wickets of Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and Marco Jansen to become the first bowler to claim a five-wicket haul.
MI came back brilliantly thanks to Jasprit Bumrah and Marco Jansen’s middle-overs as the duo claimed four wickets between them to bring the match right in the balance before AB de Villiers masterclass clinched it for RCB.
Rohit was full of praise for the debutant Jansen, who came back brilliantly after a poor first over and he very nearly defended seven runs in the last over.
Rohit Sharma admitted that his team committed a few mistakes in the first game but he alluded that to the lack of time that the squad has spent together. He also reckoned that playing on neutral tracks is a tough ask and that they will have to improve substantially in the upcoming games.
Mumbai Indians haven’t won their first game of the IPL since 2012 but Rohit Sharma isn’t that bothered as long as his team keeps on winning the championship.
Here’s what Rohit Sharma said in the post-match interview:
”That’s the most important thing I guess (to win tournaments). Not the first game. I thought it was a great effort.. great fight till the end. I thought we were 20 runs short with the kind of start we got. We made some mistakes in the first game, bound to happen. He’s (Jansen) a talent we have identified to bowl in any situation. We wanted to get wickets when AB and Christian were batting, which is why we went with Bumrah and Boult, unfortunately it didn’t work. Definitely not an easy pitch to bat on. We need to identify the situations and get variations. AB was brilliant and got them home,” Rohit Sharma said.
”In hindsight you can say it takes time to get intensity. But there are fresh faces. Lot of players were playing international cricket and we have not had time to get to know each other very well. It can be difficult for teams who have great home record but that’s the challenge of the sport (about playing in neutral venues). But we are fortunate enough to be able to be on the park and put some smiles on the faces of people in India. The country is going through tough times. Give them something to look forward to,” he added.