Rohit Sharma opens up about Mumbai lifting IPL trophy a third time, Mitchell Johnson and more...

By  Ajit Bezbaruah | Hyderabad | Posted  22-May-2017

Mumbai Indians' Indian Premier League title-winning skipper Rohit Sharma reveals that his team were determined to add 20 runs through their fielding after scoring only 129 against Rising Pune Supergiant on Sunday night

Mumbai Indians players are ecstatic after winning the IPL-10 title as Rising Pune Supergiants’ Daniel Christian (left) is dejected in Hyderabad last night. Pics/PTI, AFP

By captaining Mumbai Indians to their third title, Rohit Sharma has now become the most successful skipper in Indian Premier League history. Quite naturally, he was on cloud nine when he addressed the media after Mumbai Indians' one-run win over Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal here yesterday. 

During the interaction, Rohit spoke about MI's preparation, precise planning for the final, the execution of plans to perfection, those crucial spur-of-the-moment decisions on the field and of course, that euphoric feeling of lifting the cup for the third time.

Excerpts: 

One which one of the three IPL titles is special:
All three titles are special. We defeated the same opponents (Chennai Super Kings) in 2013 and 2015 after losing to them in 2010. And this year, we defeated the side which had beaten us thrice before in this edition. It is all about how you prepare at the start of the tournament and get the right combination before you take the field. That's the most critical part of winning the tournament. Individual brilliance can win you a few games, but to win this championship you need team work, intelligence of executing your plans on the field and unity in the team.

So, if you see, we had one batsman in top five (run-getters) in the two titles that we won before. But this year, we don't have even one batsman in the top five. It is a little sad, but that also shows that different individuals have stepped up at different times, have put their hands up and performed. We never relied on one individual to win us the game. Yesterday was a perfect example, the bowling unit came together and everybody contributed. In batting, the top and middle order failed but Krunal Pandya stood up. 

On whether he believed Mumbai could win after putting up only 129 on the board:
When you are playing on a slow pitch, it is important to believe that you can defend any target. After our poor batting display, we spoke about how we played our last game against one of the better batting units in the tournament (Kolkata Knight Riders in Qualifier-2) and bowled them out for 105. So, why can't we do it here? While defending such a low score, it's always important for the fielders to try and create something, some magic, by taking a brilliant catch or by effecting a brilliant run out.

When we came out to field, we spoke about adding 20 runs through our fielding but we were sloppy in the first few overs. During the first strategic time-out we just got together and asked everyone to be calm and not overdo anything. Things will happen. On a slow wicket like this, something or the other keeps happening every now and then. We always knew and also had the belief that things can change anytime. We just wanted make sure that we stay in the game for 20 overs.

It doesn't matter if they create a partnership, we wanted to stay in the game. We have seen it again and again in this format that one good over, few dot balls or few mishits can force the opponent to make mistakes and completely change the game.

On Mitchell Johnson coming in and performing:
We have some proven match-winners in our squad and they come in handy when the team require them the most. It was unfortunate that Mitchell McClenaghan was injured, but we always knew we had a great back up in Mitchell Johnson, who again, is a proven customer. He has done it for Australia and MI many times before so we knew that we could happily rely on him.
The last over was very critical with Steven Smith and Dan Christian batting, and he delivered. It is also great to have him in team even when he is not in the playing XI. He's always been talking to the younger bowlers, sharing his experience, all those things have helped our younger bowlers too. You will hear from Jasprit Bumrah, sometime in the future, how much Johnson has helped him.


MI captain Rohit Sharma receives the IPL trophy from BCCI acting president CK Khanna last night

On whether bowling Johnson in the last over was a wise decision given that Smith was playing for pace:
We wanted to use Bumrah to take wickets. Then it was always a gamble between Lasith Malinga or Johnson to bowl that last over because both are quick and we didn't want to give Smith any pace to play with. Malinga has played quite a few games this season and he was in rhythm but Johnson is good at taking the ball away from the right-handers, making it difficult to hit. We wanted to make Smith hit into the wind, and Rayudu managed to take a well-judged catch.

On getting the balance right:
It is always good to have the five-bowler theory in T20 with the right balance of bat and ball. Hardik and Krunal Pandya give us that balance because of the way they bat and bowl. Sometimes, Hardik hasn't bowled much because the other five bowlers have delivered and sometimes, it is Krunal who hasn't bowled much because the other five have delivered.

A lot of credit goes to Shane Bond who has been working with all the bowlers closely. It is not just about what we did yesterday. Everybody has worked really hard throughout the tournament. That's why these guys are also getting rewards for it. Good to see when all these things fall in place.