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Rohit Sharma looks like man on mission. Can he take Mumbai Indians the distance?

Rohit Sharma has performed well in the last six matches for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. With his team in the play-offs, a lot would depend on the captain to take his team the distance.

ipl 2017 Updated: May 11, 2017 01:25 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2017,Mumbai Indians,Rohit Sharma
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma has so far scored 250 runs in 12 matches in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. (AFP)

Rohit Sharma was at the forefront of Mumbai Indians’ championship winning efforts in 2013 and 2015, finishing as their top-scorer in both Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons. While 2017 hasn’t been the same, the Mumbai Indians skipper seems to have got his mojo back in recent outings and the team will hope he will carry on that momentum till the end of the tournament.

In the first six matches, Rohit’s only significant knock was 40 in a match-winning cause against Gujarat Lions. While he didn’t bat in one match, the other scores were in single digits.

Read | Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan celebrate ICC Champions Trophy call-up with IPL 50s

Rohit’s resurgence

But in the last six games he has collected his thoughts, tightened his game and has looked like a man on a mission. That determination has seen him score three half-centuries with the last knock of 67 in the defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad his best. He was the only Mumbai batsmen to deliver on a tricky wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad while the others fell flat.

Rohit Sharma’s grand run in 2013 and 2015 came as an opener. While there have been calls for Rohit to open the innings for Mumbai as he does so for India in limited-overs cricket, the Mumbai Indians team management has slotted him at No 4 to lend balance to the middle-order, which is a bit thin on experience and consistency.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Manish Pandey in Indian cricket team; Rohit Sharma returns

Personal landmark

Besides making sure that Mumbai go all the way, Rohit Sharma will also be chasing a third landmark in this edition of the IPL - becoming the only player after Suresh Raina to score 300-plus runs in all editions of the IPL.

Currently, Rohit has scored 250 runs in 12 matches this season, and the way he is going at the moment, he looks on course to cross the 300-run mark, especially with Mumbai confirmed of a play-off berth.

The Mumbai skipper has never scored below 360 runs in the previous seasons. His highest aggregate was 538 runs in 2013 when Mumbai Indians won their first IPL title. He aggregated 482 runs when Mumbai won the crown in 2015. His lowest aggregate was 362 in 2009 when he was part of the now-defunct Deccan Chargers, which lifted the title that season.

Read | Rohit Sharma content with batting down the order for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2017

Elite club

Earlier this edition, Rohit had become only the third player to play 150 matches in the IPL and the fourth to complete 4000 runs. He achieved the feat during the match-winning knock of 56 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium on May 1.

Rohit is currently third in the list for the highest IPL aggregate, with 4,124 runs. Suresh Raina tops the chart with 4,532 runs followed by Virat Kohli (4,360). Gautam Gambhir is fourth with 4,067 runs. All three reached the 4000-run mark ahead of Rohit.

Producing a couple of substantial knocks would not just help take Mumbai Indians all the way, it would also give confidence to Rohit, who is set to return to the national team set-up for the ICC Champions Trophy after undergoing thigh surgery and then overcoming a shoulder injury.

First Published: May 10, 2017 20:42 IST