The Mumbai Indians won their first match of the current season to break the eight-match losing streak, after beating the Rajasthan Royals by five wickets on Saturday in Navi Mumbai.
The five-time IPL champions are effectively no longer in contention to make it to the playoff stage of the competition after losing eight matches on the trot, but getting the first win brought more relief than joy to their captain Rohit Sharma, who turned 35 on match day.
“That’s how we play. The real potential came out today with the ball especially. We knew it will never be easy for us to restrict them to that total,” he said.
“And with that batting lineup we know that if we keep taking wickets it’s going to be difficult for them. That’s what we wanted to try and we did that perfectly today.”
The Royals’ batting unit includes the current Orange cap holder Jos Buttler who has been in fine form this season. He did managed to score a solid 67 off 52, with five boundaries and four sixes. But the Mumbai franchise managed to restrict the opposition to 158 for six.
Sharma, who has been struggling for form with the bat managed to score just two runs.
Eventually, it was the sturdy partnership between Suryakumar Yadav - who scored 51 from 39 - and Tilak Verma (35 from 30) that put the chasing team more in control.
Eventually though, it was the cameo by Tim David and the first-ball-six by Daniel Sams that got MI over the line.
“This is the team we played in the first couple of games except for a few bowling changes,” Sharma added. “When you have a season like this, 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. And the conditions are different.”
“When you play at DY Patil, the ball tends to grip a little, and at (Brabourne Stadium), Wankhede and Pune, the pitches are flat. Keeping all that in mind we try to field the best combination,” he said.
“Yes, it hasn’t worked for the eight games, but one thing I can say is we weren’t blown away by the opposition. We came really close and we lost games, crucial games. Had we won those games, things would have been different for us.
“In hindsight if you look at the overall picture, we played very well. Bowlers came together and the batters did the job for us as well.”