IPL: Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene’s ‘healthy headache’ for RPS clash
Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene has said performance of players in the last two IPL 2017 group stage matches will be a major factor in picking the side for the Qualifier 1 against Rising Pune Supergiant.ipl 2017 Updated: May 16, 2017 17:52 IST
Mumbai Indians enjoyed a wonderful group stage in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. The two-time IPL champions topped the group standings with 10 wins from 14 games, accumulating 20 points in the process.
They take on second-placed Rising Pune Supergiant in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium.
Having confirmed participation in the playoff phase, Mumbai Indians had rested some of their key first team players in the last two group stage matches against Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders.
MI attempted to chase down the mammoth 230 set by Kings XI Punjab, but eventually lost by seven runs on May 11. However, they managed to pip Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens by nine runs on May 13.
Pleasant selection headache
Ahead of the Qualifier 1, Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene admitted the performances of the players in the two matches had given him a “healthy headache” in selecting the line-up to play against Rising Pune Supergiant.
“We had a tough game against Kings XI. It was a tough day for the bowlers… but a lot of positives for us to take from that. Knowing that we would have a playoff to come as well, we wanted to rest a few of our bowlers. And it gave us a good opportunity to try out our bench strength,” Jayawardene said in a video released by Mumbai Indians on their website and social media accounts in preparation for the match against RPS.
Solid MI unit
“I think we still played the brand of cricket we want Mumbai Indians to play — aggressive and positive. I think Kolkata is a strong team. It wasn’t a dead rubber at all. They needed to win that match to finish in the top two as well.
“The way the guys responded gives me a healthy headache. I just need to think about what the final lineup is going to be for the playoffs. But I am happy to be challenged by that rather than us not having any option.”
Reflecting on the season in entirety, Jayawardene said the Mumbai Indians squad was carrying confidence into the playoff stage after coming out best in the group standings.
“The entire squad is in very good spirits. They have been training really hard. It’s been great so far. We just need to continue to do that and keep it simple,” he said.
The Qualifier 1 match will be played at Wankhede Stadium which serves as Mumbai Indians’ home for the Indian Premier League. Jayawardene feels his team has the upper hand playing at a familiar ground, even though they aren’t the home team on paper.
“It’s good to be playing at our home venue, even though it’s not a home game for us. I am sure the fans will come and support us. It’s going to be a really, really good game. Pune is a very good side and I am definitely looking forward to that challenge,” Jayawardene concluded.
First Published: May 16, 2017 17:52 IST