Mumbai Indians made it to the IPL final for the fifth time, beating Chennai Super Kings comfortably by six wickets with nine balls to spare in IPL XII Qualifier I, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.
Captain Rohit Sharma, without doubt, was elated with the performance of his team as they made short work of the Super Kings at the latter’s den — a job that’s always tough and arduous.
“It was a great effort... Great feeling that we’ll be playing the final… There are three days now in which we can switch off before the final. Truly, a much-needed break,” a relieved Rohit said during the post-match presentation.
Rohit was all praise for his bowlers as they were able to restrict the Super Kings to a modest total of 131/4 after the hosts won the toss and opted to bat first.
“I knew we have the bowlers to restrict them. It was important to restrict them to as low a total as possible because it can get tricky against their quality spinners.
“When you restrict a team like the Super Kings under 140, it does look very good. Credit goes to our bowlers for executing things well,” the Mumbai Indians captain emphasised.
Asked about including off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who had played just once before in this season going into Tuesday’s game, Rohit said: “Jayant’s inclusion was a call to make, knowing they have quite a few right-handers in their squad.
“Besides, Jayant is a quality bowler and we thought that a finger-spinner could be more effective on this pitch than a wrist-spinner. MS (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) too was going to be crucial at the end. We had plans and we were very clear about them.”
Rohit lauded Man of the Match Suryakumar Yadav (71 not out) too for his flawless batting against Super Kings’ quality spin attack. “Surya is probably one of our best batsmen against spin.
“We knew the spin threat the Super Kings possess would be a huge factor. Surya plays spin very well. I’ve seen him from close quarters. The shots he plays behind the wicket are not easy ones.
“I always knew he was going to come good at some stage,” Rohit said.
Looking ahead to the decider, Rohit exudes confidence about his squad that seems ready to deal with any type of conditions on offer.
“We’ve got a balanced squad. Whatever the conditions are, we’ve got the squad for them. We have the balance we need on the kind of pitch we are playing.
“Even the batsmen are confident in what they want to execute. That’s probably one of the reasons we’ve had some success in Chennai because we play the conditions well and understand them well too,” the skipper stressed.
On the other hand, Rohit’s counterpart Dhoni wasn’t happy that his batsmen failed to read the slow track and were not cautious in their shot selection.
“At home, we had to assess the conditions quickly. We have played six to seven games already, and that’s the home advantage.
“We needed to know how the pitch behaves, if it would be tricky or not. Is the ball coming on or not… Those were the things we didn’t gauge well… I think our batting needs to get better,” the Super Kings captain said.
Dhoni was particularly critical about shot selection that hasn’t been too good in the Super Kings’ last few matches.