Not depending on specific individuals and handling pressure situations with aplomb has been key to Mumbai Indians’ playoff journey, an elated skipper Rohit Sharma said on Thursday.
Mumbai Indians sealed their place in the playoffs with a Super Over win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. They still have a game in hand.
“It’s a good positive for us to qualify with one game to spare. In 2017, when we won the trophy, we qualified with two games in hand. As a team what we have done well is that we have handled the pressure situations well,” said Rohit.
“A lot guys have put their hand up and taken the responsibility which is why we don’t have anyone, barring Quinton [de Kock], in the top five [of the highest run scorers]. It’s not about one or two individuals.
“If you want to win the tournament everyone needs to do well. That’s the hallmark of this team, whether it is [leggie] Rahul Chahar or Quinton. We don’t believe in individuals to win the game on their own. We want everyone to chip in and take us over the line,” he elaborated.
Rohit said the eight overs of spin bowling done in tandem by left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya [2-22] and Chahar [0 for 21] did the trick in stopping SRH from winning the game.
“They understand the conditions really well. Vijay [Shankar] and Manish Pandey were batting and they kept varying the length. Their eight overs were probably the turning point. They bowled really well with a wet ball, which is not easy, he said.
On his decision to bat first, Sharma said that was dictated by how difficult it was to chase a modest score against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“This year the conditions here are such that the ball spins in the second half. We saw against RCB - we were chasing 170 and we struggled to chase in spite of scoring 70 in the first six overs. The pitch has been up and done. We had decided that if it was an important match we will put up runs on the board and then defend.
Looking ahead, Sharma said the team’s batting order was flexible from positions 3-7 which gives them the option to send big-hitters Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard higher.
“If you look at the whole tournament, they [Hardik and Pollard] have batted around the 14th or 15th overs and scored 70-80 runs the maximum number of times. Right from number 3-7 all our batsmen are flexible. They can bat anywhere at any given time which makes our job easier.
“And with Pollard and Hardik, we have that option. Polly has done it a few times - if you remember he had done that against [Kings XI] Punjab [batted at no 4 and made 83 off 31 balls]. We will keep our options open.”