Despite becoming the first team to reach the playoffs in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians will not be taking the rest of the games lightly, leg-spinner Karn Sharma said after the five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday at the Wankhede stadium.

“We have qualified (for the play-offs), but we can’t take these four matches lightly also, we need to take momentum to the knock out stage,” Sharma told reporters at the post-match conference.

Chasing a modest 162-8, Mumbai scored 165-5 with one ball to spare, courtesy skipper and man of the match Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten 56. It was MI’s eighth win out of 10 games. The table toppers have lost only two matches this season, with both those losses coming against Rising Pune Supergiant.

The 29-year-old, who replaced Harbhajan Singh in the playing XI, also said that both the veteran off spinners and Krunal Pandya, who retired hurt during Mumbai’s innings, were expected to be fit for the next game.

“Harbhajan had some problem on the left foot, he will be fine for the next match. Krunal (Pandya) is fine,” Sharma said.

Sharma also spoke about the success of leg-spinners in this edition of the IPL.

“Imran Tahir is number one bowler in T20 and I learnt a lot from him (while interacting with him when Pune played against Mumbai here). In T20, the leg spinners get (more) grip from the wickets, even if it is flat or otherwise,” said the Meerut-born player.

Aniket Choudhary rues RCB’s misfortune

Meanwhile, Bangalore pace bowler Aniket Choudhary, who bowled impressively till his last over, conceded that the team’s bowling performance wasn’t on par to defend the target.

“I don’t think so (when asked was it enough). We batted first and we understood how it behaved. I think if we had bowled more slow balls, we could have stopped them from getting to the target. It was a decent wicket, but we bowled a few bad balls here and there,” he told reporters.

With Mumbai needing 30 runs from last 18 balls, Choudhary bowled the 18th over and he conceded just six runs in the first five balls but he bowled a wide next and was blasted by Hardik Pandya for a six off the extra ball.

“As far as last ball is concerned, I was wondering whether to bowl him (Hardik Pandya) the slower one or the fast one. Maybe it was a match-changing point,” Choudhary said.

“So I went to and asked him (de Villiers) ‘what should I bowl?’ And he said ‘maybe he is ready for the slower one, so I think you should go with the hard length.’

“And when someone as great as AB tells you do to something, such a world class player and if he is giving you a suggestion, it’s very hard to go against it. And I thought he is right.

“And (captain) Virat (Kohli) wasn’t happy with what I bowled. He thought I did the wrong thing and I should have bowled full and slow,” he explained.

Aniket Choudhary at the post match conference. Image Credit: Rahul Gulati - Sportzpics - IPL

Asked why such a star-studded unit like RCB has flopped totally this season and have no chance to qualify for the playoffs, Choudhary blamed it on misfortune.

“Maybe bad luck ... Things didn’t go our way. Things happen quite fast in T20 and when things don’t go your way (the team fails),” he said.

The Rajasthan pacer had bowled to the Indian batsmen at the nets prior to the Test series against New Zealand, Bangladesh and Australia.

Asked what he had gained from the experience, he misunderstood the question and said: “Gain is that I got Rs 2 crore! (at IPL auction).”

He soon realized his mistake and added, “It was a very good experience, if you are bowling to top Indian batsmen and getting them out, that’s where I got noticed by Virat that I’m from Rajasthan and I am bowling well.

“Once you bowl to the best and get them out, I don’t think there is a better way of gaining confidence than that. After that whichever domestic competition you go, like when I played Ranji Trophy, I was very confident. It appeared a lot easier then.”