Calcutta/New Delhi: Riding on captain Rohit Sharma’s blistering half-century, Mumbai Indians cruised into the Champions League Twenty20 semi-finals with a crushing six-wicket victory over the Perth Scorchers, at the Kotla, on Wednesday.
MI were required to chase the target of 149 in 14.2 overs to make it to the last-four stage of the tournament, and they did it in 13.2.
After the match, Man of the Match Rohit hailed the team spirit.
After the match, Scorchers coach Justin Langer said, “We got a lot out of the game. MI are a team of superstars. They have incredible talent and got the win they wanted in the required number of overs. But yes, it was good to get Sachin early.
In T20 cricket, it’s the match-winners who make the difference and we saw that today. Sachin missed out, but Smith batted beautifully and Rohit was truly an incredible innings.”
The following are excerpts
Rohit Sharma: It was a good match. We were under a lot of pressure to get over the line and pretty soon. But we remained positive. We had it in our minds that any target was possible. Our ploy to bat second paid off because we knew what’s the score we had to chase. We knew we had to get there in 14.2 overs, but we were ready for the challenge as we had 10 wickets in hand.
I think we are peaking at the right time and everyone is contributing. We bowled really well today. We respond well to pressure situations... I think our death bowling is an area of concern. Moreover, our fielding was a bit off too. But I think that was an aberration and we will regroup and perform well in our next match, the semi-final.
On the personal front, I’ve played here so much that I know what to expect from this wicket. It wasn’t easy to hit square so I tried to hit as straight as possible. It was a small ground and we needed to start off positively. The start made our job easier.
We are looking forward to putting up a much better performance against our semi-final opponents… We are up for the challenge ...
I am not at all worried about Sachin Tendulkar’s form. We all know what he is capable of and the amount of runs he has scored in his career. Given his experience, I am confident he would come back roaring in the semi-finals. He is really hitting the ball well. I am sure the crowd here at the Kotla will get to watch an awesome performance from him in the next match.
Simon Katich: I think we put up a decent effort with the bat thanks to three young players — Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright and Sam Whiteman. Whiteman played exceptionally well on debut. They are three exciting cricketers who are going to be our future. In fact, many of our young players have been great during this tournament and they have showed that they have got great careers ahead of them.
But it was always going to be difficult. MI are a strong side and we knew that they are going to come hard at us with the bat.