Elated after pulling off a stunning win against Rajasthan Royals to make the IPL playoffs, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said even though his team had the self-belief to chase down the daunting target of 189, he never thought that it would be able to draw level in just under 15 overs.
“When (Ambati) Rayudu was run out (with the scores tied in 14.3 overs), we did not know exactly (who qualified). We did not know the match could be tied in 14.3. We wanted to win in 14 or 14.2 or thought we would lose, but never thought it could tie on 14.3,” Sharma said after the brilliant chase on Sunday night.
“The big screen flashed it but I was not watching it. But our analysts were working constantly and we knew we had to hit a boundary on the next ball to get our run rate ahead of Rajasthan Royals,” added an elated Sharma after his team’s five-wicket victory and a passage into the play-off.
Aditya Tare, who replaced Rayudu, calmly dispatched a full toss from Royals’ left-arm pace bowler James Faulkner into the stands beyond the square leg area to complete the daunting task and then ran towards the far end of the Wankhede Stadium in glee with his teammates chasing him.
With the two teams ending with the same number of points (14) after the league stage of the tournament, title holders MI went through due to a marginally better net run rate than their rivals.
In fact, there was some confusion when the scores got tied with the run out off the third ball of the 14th over while going for a difficult second run with the Royals even celebrating before it dawned on them that the next ball was the clincher.
Sharma said the team knew how difficult it was to chase such a big score at 13 runs an over but drew confidence from the fact that it had done so in last year’s Champions League too to qualify for the knockouts.
“With the 190 target, we thought we should enjoy and not take pressure. Doing it in 14.3 overs is not a common occurrence. It was not easy as a run rate of 13 was needed from the first over. But we also knew we could do it as we have the batting and we had included an extra batsman (Corey Anderson), so that we could chase whatever was the target in front of us.
“In Champions League also, we were in the same situation. We had then chased 155 in 14.3. We had the belief we could do it and were positive we could chase. The wicket was also good to bat on,” said Sharma.
The Mumbai Ranji Trophy continued…