Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma hopeful of making the IPL play-offs cut ahead of their Kings XI Punjab clash
Mohali: On a roll after notching up nine victories to qualify for the play-offs, Kings XI Punjab would look to continue with their winning momentum when they take on Mumbai Indians in their first IPL-7 match on their home ground here today.
Rohit Sharma plays a sweep shot during practice. Pic/Atul Kamble
However, the defending champions are not ready to throw in the towel just yet. "Although things didn't go our way initially, we have to now keep moving forward. You never know what can happen, we are still very much in the tournament," said MI skipper Rohit Sharma after their win over Rajasthan Royals on Monday.
"I know that the squad we have got is a talented one and has a lot of potential. But we were not able to put things together at the start of the tournament. With a team like this, I wasn't excepting such a performance. But it happens. We have to move on now," he added.
Meanwhile, Punjab have been riding high on confidence after steamrolling almost every other side they have played against and one more victory in front of their home crowd will put them in a commanding position as IPL-7 heads towards the business end.
On Monday, Punjab beat Delhi Daredevils, once again displaying their class, which has made them a top team this season. Their earlier best performance was the semi-final stage appearance at the inaugural season in 2008.
Playing as a unit
Unlike in the past, when Punjab heavily banked on performances of a couple of players, the good thing this season has been the side has struck the right balance. While Glenn Maxwell, the orange-cap holder with a mammoth 531 runs, has been the side's star performer, young Punjab players like Sandeep Sharma, Manan Vohra and Akshar Patel have also shown great maturity in pressure situations.
The side's batting department has been strengthened with the presence of Virender Sehwag at the top order in whose company young batters like Vohra have got ample opportunities to display their talent, allowing even skipper George Bailey on occasions to enjoy his team's batting show from the sidelines.
Accumulating as many wins as possible is the team's mantra. Bailey said on Monday. "I think what you get from winning is confidence and self belief. They are really two important things in this format of the game."
The number of sixes Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma has hit in all editions of the IPL. Chris Gayle has hit 192 so far
> Kings XI Punjab were on a five-match winning streak, while Mumbai Indians had lost five in a row. In-form Glenn Maxwell, raced to 45 off 26 before he mishit Harbhajan Singh to long-on as the visitors went on to compile 168-5
> Like Punjab, Mumbai Indians too lost two quick wickets. CM Gautam and Rohit Sharma added 47 in 41 before Gautam fell to Rishi Dhawan. Rohit and Anderson took a six each off Dhawan’s next over but the real push Mumbai Indians needed came in the 13th over when Anderson slogged the left-arm spinner for four consecutive boundaries
> MI needed 41 off the last three overs but Kieron Pollard and Aditya Tare ensured they were not letting it slip away. Mitchell Johnson bowled the 19th over, and Pollard took 20 off it. He then finished off the match on the first ball of the 20th over