Having a clear plan for in-form batsmen like KL Rahul and just focusing on executing it did the trick for Jasprit Bumrah, who helped keep Mumbai Indians’ play-off hopes alive. The seamer took 3/15 as the defending champions scored a thrilling three-run win over Kings XI Punjab in Mumbai on Wednesday.

“To have a clear plan is very important whenever you bowl. I plan and I back myself in whichever situation I’m bowling. I was just focusing on that and it was a good day, so it went well,” Bumrah said at the post-match press conference.

“We already knew he [Rahul] had been batting well throughout the tournament. In the bowlers’ meeting we usually talk about every player. We were bowling second and I had a chat with [bowling coach] Shane Bond and [mentor Lasith] Malinga that there would be dew,” he added.

Man-of-the-match Bumrah’s most important wicket was that of Rahul, who was batting on 94 off 64. The opener was poised to guide KXIP to victory, before being caught at long off in the penultimate over with 20 needed needed.

On MI’s spectacular comeback into reckoning after a poor beginning, Bumrah said they were closing out games which they had failed to do earlier in the season.

“It looks a fairy tale. It looks easy, in the last moment we come and do [the job], but is not always like that. It is difficult. We were not able to close off games. Now after the halfway stage we were able to close games, so that is the thing we were focusing on,” said the bowler who had started the tournament on a sedate note but has picked up pace now.

Purple cap holder Andrew Tye was disappointed with the defeat and conceded Punjab has been propped up by only a few players in both batting and bowling.

“It’s disappointing we did not win against Mumbai. It was probably about the par score (186 by MI) on that wicket. We had the firepower to chase it down but we could not do it. Doesn’t really matter if I take 4-16 or someone else does. It means obviously someone else has let you down and it’s not a whole team effort. That is something that we’ve struggled for a lot this IPL, said Tye.

“We haven’t had enough boys standing up other than KL with the bat or myself and Mujeeb [ur Rahman] with the ball. So, fair credit to Mumbai. I feel they won the game with their fielding. In a close match like that, they made a couple of really good saves on the boundary, chased a couple of balls down and that makes a difference when you lose the match by about five runs, he added.

He also pointed out that Rahul was the only batsman to have scored a fifty after a lengthy break for the team.

“In the first few games we had KL, [Chris] Gayle, Karun [Nair] who’d scored half centuries or a century. But since the break, KL is the only batsman who’s gone past fifty,” he added.

Punjab now need a huge win against Chennai Super Kings in their final league match to have a chance of making the playoffs, since their net run-rate is -0.490 after four straight defeats.

With inputs from PTI