We played a perfect game: Captain Rohit
Calcutta: Mumbai Indians gave their play-offs chances a boost by edging out Kings XI Punjab by three runs in a thrilling IPL XI encounter in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Mumbai Indians Rohit Sharma, speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, said that he thought it was a "perfect game" for them. Kings XI's Ravichandran Ashwin, on the other hand, was devastated, saying he was at a loss of words to explain the defeat.
Chasing a 187-run target, Kings XI's Lokesh Rahul (94 off 60 balls) and Aaron Finch (46 off 35 balls) tried their best, but the chase ultimately fell three runs short. Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah bowled superbly, giving away just 15 runs in his four overs and picking up three wickets.
"You obviously feel good after a win. I thought we played a perfect game. Whatever we asked from the boys, they came and delivered in the middle. It has never been easy for us in the last few years," Rohit said.
Praising his bowlers, Rohit said: "We knew it was going to be a good pitch. But we lost the plot in the middle while batting, we could have got 10-15 runs more. We always knew it was going to be tough for our bowlers to come out and defend that score. But hats off to them..."
He singled out Bumrah for special praise. "Bumrah has come a long way in the past two years. He's worked really hard on his bowling. It's not easy to come out and bowl the way he does. (Lasith) Malinga will be always missed, but since he's gone, we've known Bumrah is the one to take the charge. He might not be up there in the wickets column, but what he does for us is more important."
Kieron Pollard was the top-scorer for the Mumbai Indians with a 23-ball 50. The West Indian wasn't in a great form coming into the match and had even been dropped from the XI.
Speaking about him, Rohit said: "Pollard has always been a match-winner for us. Leaving him out was a tough decision. But we thought this was the time to bring him back. Come the big game, Pollard steps up for us. He was disappointed at being left out. What he did with the bat today, that's what he does."
Ashwin, commenting on the loss, said: "I'm pretty blank at this point of time. We were in the chase all along. It was a pretty professional batting effort compared to the last few games, but it didn't work out for us today. It looked like it would be a clinical romp for us, but Bumrah bowled really well at the death, and proved himself once again at the death."
The Kings XI captain termed it as a "terrible" day.
"I've been in a dugout that has been on the edge always (CSK), but today we had a terrible day, and it's quite sad the way things panned out... So we need a bit of luck to get through now and depend on other results.
"We wanted to take the game deep and we wanted our best batsmen to be out there. Kudos to both KL and Aaron (Finch), but bad luck for them it didn't happen today. KL has done exceptionally well throughout, he's the billion-dollar guy for us right now, and he has hardly missed a ball throughout the tournament."