Monday, 30th October 2017

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‘Business end’ specialists

MI register nine-wicket win to top standings; KKR’s IPL 2019 over

By Our Bureau and Agencies in Calcutta/Mumbai
  • Published 6.05.19, 3:20 AM
  • Updated 6.05.19, 3:20 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mumbai Indians’ Lasith Malinga celebrates with teammates after dismissing Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede on Sunday. (PTI)

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma Sunday described IPL as a funny tournament in which any team can beat any other on a particular day, while also asserting his team’s habit of coming back stronger in the later stages of the league.

Rohit struck an unbeaten 55 to lead the Mumbai Indians to an easy nine-wicket win over the Kolkata Knight Riders, which gave them the pole position in the IPL table and also ensured a lucky fourth place finish for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, on Sunday.

Rohit stitched two crucial partnerships, first a 46-run stand with Quinton de Kock (30) for the opening wicket and then another 88 runs for the unconquered second wicket with Suryakumar Yadav (46 not) as MI chased down the target of 134 with 3.5 overs to spare.

After the match, Rohit said: “It is something we know about the IPL… The business end matters, we always come back well in the second half of this tournament. In all the three trophies that we’ve won, the boys have picked themselves up in the business end,” Rohit said.

“IPL is a funny tournament, any team can beat the other on a day and we want to take few tiny steps,” he added.

He credited Sunday’s easy win to team effort and said it showed his side did not depend on just a few players.

“It was the team effort that pleased me the most. We don’t depend on a few individuals to take us through, there are a lot of characters who put their hand up and took us through,” the captain said.

“Today, the entire bowling attack used the pitch and their variations really well to keep a line-up like KKR quiet.”

On a personal note, he said: “My daughter has been coming here every day to watch me play, but I didn’t get a lot of runs earlier. It was nice to get some runs today, but she was sleeping.”

MI all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was named Man of the Match for his bowling figures of three for 20 in KKR’s total of 133 for seven, said getting the award for his effort with the ball was pleasing.

“To be honest, as a batsman, there is nothing better than hitting a ball. People don’t expect a lot from my bowling, neither do I, but it feels nice,” he said.

“I definitely look at myself as a four-over bowler, I am ready to do whatever my team wants me to do, bowl four, ten or even fifteen overs in a Test match. Then we have one more bowling option and it helps when somebody has an off day,” he added.

Asked about MI’s Qualifier 1 match against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, he said: “CSK are a different challenge, it will be a cracker of a game. We just hope to get the best out of that one and go through to the final.”

Rohit, on Sunday, carried his bat through the innings, hitting eight fours off 48 balls while Suryakumar consumed 27 balls for his unbeaten 46.

MI ended the league phase with 18 points from 14 matches — the same as Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals — but they secured the top spot by virtue of having a better net run rate.

MI ended with a net run rate of 0.421 as against 0.131 and 0.044 of CSK and DC, respectively.

KKR and SRH ended the league phase on 12 points each but the Hyderabad-based franchise sneaked to the play-offs with 0.577 net run rate against 0.028 of KKR.

MI and Chennai Super Kings play against each other in Chennai in the Qualifier 1 on Tuesday while Delhi Capitals — who finished third — take on SRH in the Eliminator at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.