Everything was against Mumbai Indians when they finished their innings in the final of the recently-concluded Indian Premier League against Rising Pune Supergiant.
They had only 129 runs on the board against Pune’s in-form batting lineup and moreover, the fact that they had already lost against the Steve Smith-led side thrice in the tournament would have only made them more nervous.
However, the Mumbai bowlers came up with a spirited performance and won the nail-biting finale by a solitary run, as Mumbai Indians became the first team to win the trophy thrice. Rohit kept on changing his bowlers regularly which never allowed the Pune-based outfit to remain ahead at any stage of the game and eventually he reaped rewards for it by defending the small total and becoming the first captain to win the title thrice in the history of the tournament.
Speaking after the match, the India opener said there was assistance from the Hyderabad pitch and it was up to his bowlers to make the most of it.
The captain said he was confident of winning the tie when Pune needed 30 runs from the last three overs and well he was absolutely spot on, as Mumbai’s pace trio – Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell Johnson bowled remarkably well to restrict the Supergiant to 128 for six.
“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,” Rohit said after the match.
“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 (105) there was no way we couldn’t do it here,” he added.
Rohit has garnered praise from all over for his exceptional captaincy throughout the tournament and when he was asked whether he is harbouring hopes of leading India, he said it was about thinking too far ahead but at the same time said that he would grab the opportunity with both the hands whenever it arrives.
“That’s thinking too far ahead. I don’t think too far ahead. When the opportunity comes, it comes. I will grab it with both hands,” he quipped.
Rohit will now switch his focus to the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy where India will be defending their title. The tournament will begin on June 1 in England while India will start their title defence on June 4 against arch-rivals Pakistan.