Unlike their last Indian Premier League (IPL) season, former champions Mumbai Indians have played with a fresh verve this time and are virtually through to the playoffs of the T20 league.
After an initial hiccup, Mumbai managed to put up a string of wins and have gone about their job at a consistent pace. Their quick recovery after the first loss against Rising Pune Supergiant was a welcome change considering MI’s history of shaky starts.
Coach Mahela Jayawardene shared his mantra for the turnaround on Friday, ahead of the clash against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.
“From Day 1 I told the team to take one game at a time and nothing has changed from that. We just want to focus on Delhi (game). We have four more group games so we are trying to get into good habits, making sure we keep evolving, improving in areas we need to, and being consistent in areas where we have done well,” the former Sri Lanka captain said.
Another reason for MI’s consistency --- eight wins, two losses -- is a positive approach and not letting things slip from their grip.
“You don’t want to be in a situation where you want to win a lot of games and hoping that other teams do you favours. So, we were planning to have that control. So, after the first loss, we made sure we strive for the momentum because we had eight games in 18 days, it was very difficult to keep that momentum. Living in that moment rather than thinking too much ahead helped. Still IPL is tough as teams will come hard at you.”
Mahela Jayawardene praised the way Rohit has come on this season, especially after his thigh surgery.
“Rohit came from a very serious operation and we just wanted him to get the feel of the park. In the first few games, we were very careful as he hadn’t played any domestic cricket. He has taken a lot of responsibility. It was a different role this year to bat at No 4 and he has been brilliant.”
He was all praise for Rishabh Pant, who smashed a 43-ball 97, his highest score in IPL, to thrash Gujarat Lions.
“Rishabh is a naturally gifted player. We’ve been following him this IPL and when he played in Wankhede, he had played a couple of good knocks. He is an exciting young talent and a match-winner.”