Lasith Malinga defended nine runs in a sensational last over to lead Mumbai Indians to their fourth IPL crown with a narrow one-run win over Chennai Super Kings on Sunday.
CSK needed nine runs off six balls but the experienced Malinga kept his nerve to concede just eight. He trapped Shardul Thakur leg before in the last ball after Watson (80 off 59) got run out two balls earlier. As a result, CSK have now lost to Mumbai for the third time in four finals.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, MI skipper Rohit Sharma expressed satisfaction over his team’s performance over the season and said, “We played some good cricket. Good to see we qualified in the top two. At the start of the tournament, we wanted to split the tournament into two halves. But credit to the entire squad, not just the XI. Even the support staff as well.”
Completing his bowlers, Sharma said, “Our bowling in this tournament was excellent. At different stages, our bowlers put their hands up and brought us back in the game. Every bowler who got an opportunity put their hand up, whatever condition we played in. We backed our ability and our skills, and that’s probably why we got rewards.”
Praising Lasith Malinga for his brilliant last over, he said “About Malinga, that’s what champions do. I had confidence in him despite a poor third over. He also had confidence he could do it. I thought we could use Hardik for the 20th, but wanted to back someone who has done it for us. Malinga has done it many times in the past, so not a very difficult decision..”
“As a captain, I am learning every game and every tournament. But need to give credit to the team. Firmly believe captain is representative of this team. Players make the captain look good,” Sharma concluded.
Dhoni’s humourous take
Losing captain MS Dhoni said that as a team CSK had a good season. “But we need to go back and reflect on how we reached the finals. It’s not one of those years where we played really great cricket to reach here,” he said.
“The middle order wasn’t great, and in IPLs it is very funny as to how both these teams are only passing on the trophies from one team to the other. Both teams made a lot of mistakes, they made one lesser mistake,” he added.
“We have to go to our drawing board, and there is no real time for that now. We need to go into the World Cup and after that we need to see the gaps that we can fill. Nothing against the bowlers, it’s the batsmen who need to step up,” he further added.
When asked if he will be there in the next season, a smiling Dhoni said, “Hopefully yes,” he said.
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