To defend a total as low as 128 in an all-important final requires some exceptional bowling along with managing the nerves.
For the Mumbai Indians, their bowlers did just that in the final against Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad, as the Rohit Sharma-led side got home its third IPL crown. Incidentally, all these IPL trophies have come under the leadership of Rohit Sharma and the affair began in 2013, when Mumbai beat Chennai Super Kings in Kolkata.
The final, however, against Pune, was the toughest one to scale for Mumbai, as the batsmen had under fired, leading to an added burden on the bowlers. In the form of Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell Johnson, Mumbai had three world class pacers who could change the momentum within the matter of an over.
Mitchell Johnson, despite retiring from international cricket in 2015, brought all his skills into play to bowl a superb last over and win his team the title. Post the win, skipper Rohit Sharma admitted to giving his bowlers the freedom which they desired.
“There was assistance from the pitch, so it was a matter of exploiting the conditions. When three overs were left, I had confidence in the bowlers. They have always done the job wherever they’ve played. It was about giving freedom to them because they’re the masters and they’ve done it before. I just told them to do whatever they want and set the field accordingly,” said Rohit Sharma.
Adding more about giving freedom to his champion bowlers, Rohit said, “I’m calm now. It was a great game of cricket. I’m sure the spectators enjoyed it. To be able to defend a score like this was a brilliant effort, I couldn’t ask for more. Whenever you’re defending a total like that, the first thing you’ve to do is believe. I told the boys if we could do it against KKR there was no way we couldn’t do it here.”