Harbhajan Singh emerged as the hero of what turned out to be a memorable script in the end for Mumbai Indians on Sunday. The offie helped Mumbai Indians clinch their second title of the season after the reigning Indian Premier League (IPL) champions thumped Rajasthan Royals in the Champions League T20 final at Delhi.
Harbhajan’s three wickets (Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Kevon Cooper) turned the match for Mumbai Indians in the 17th over. However, the senior offie was modest when asked whether his final over had helped Mumbai clinch the title.
“I wouldn’t say that. It was a team effort. Yes, it was crucial to get those three wickets. We had planned them. I am happy to contribute to the victory,” Harbhajan, who was man of the match for his four for 32, told MiD DAY yesterday.
With the Royals needing 48 off four overs, Harbhajan first removed the well-set Rahane for 65. Three balls later, he removed Binny before dismissing the dangerous Cooper off the last ball during his final over. Three wickets in six balls left Rajasthan Royals shell-shocked. Harbhajan was over the moon to win the Champions League for the second time.
“It is a fantastic win. It’s a special moment to win the Champions League again for Mumbai Indians,” said Harbhajan, who came into the tournament without playing any competitive cricket after the IPL-VI in May.
Harbhajan had also starred when Mumbai won the Champions League title in 2011 against Royal Challengers Bangalore with three for 20. “Both victories are special. That (2011) was the first time when Mumbai Indians won something.
This (victory) is also special. We did not have Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma then. This time, we had a full-fledged team. But every victory is special and important,” said Harbhajan.
Rohit, a future India skipper
Mumbai Indians’ young skipper Rohit Sharma attracted huge praise from the senior pro who sees the Mumbaikar as captaincy material for India: “Rohit definitely has the potential. He has done well. He is a brilliant player. It will be good to see him leading India in the future.
He is calm and composed. Captaincy has helped him bat with a lot of maturity. It is good to see him do well. Virat Kohli is another special talent.” On his own form, Harbhajan said: “It is good to finish on a high note. I will continue to work hard on my game. I am confident of getting back into the Indian team soon if I keep performing. I don’t think too much about being called a big-match player.”
Sunday’s Champions League final saw two legends — Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid — bow out from the shortest format. In tribute, Harbhajan said: “It was a perfect finish for Sachin. We wanted to gift this win to him. The whole Mumbai Indians camp wanted to win it for Sachin.
We are happy to do it. “Rahul has been a great leader, a great teammate and a great human being. He was always very supportive. He is someone I always looked up to as a thorough professional. I have huge respect for him.”