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IPL 8: KKR tie almost like final for us, says MI coach Ricky Ponting

With a spot in the play-offs at stake, Mumbai Indians head coach Ricky Ponting gives tonight's clash against KKR top billing

The intensity in Mumbai Indians' practice session at Wankhede Stadium was like never before in the Indian Premier League-8 so far. The tension too was palpable on the eve of their crunch clash against Kolkata Knight Riders as the core MI group were seen in intense discussion before getting down to business. Not surprisingly because MI's campaign might virtually end today if they fail to beat KKR.

Mumbai Indians head coach Ricky Ponting
Mumbai Indians head coach Ricky Ponting 

MI head coach Ricky Ponting declared today's match as THE clash of the tournament for them. "This is our most important game in the tournament. It's almost like the final for this team. That's the way we will approach the match tomorrow. This game for us is like what the last six games have been — all must-win games. We focus on every game like a knockout match. We are not looking at the mathematics. We have no control over that. We obviously have control over the outcome of this match," said Ponting yesterday.

Like last season, MI had a horrendous start this time too, losing four consecutive matches before finally winning one. The five consecutive wins before their loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday put them back in contention for s spot in the play-offs.

Ponting felt that pressure is getting the best out of the Mumbai Indians. "We had our backs to the wall. We thrive under pressure. We make changes; we try to come out with the right combination. The last three-four weeks have been very good.

"Full credit to the players. At the end of the day, I can do what I can do or the coaches can do. It's all about assessing the conditions quickly and applying your skills to the situation at the right time. We have been one of the better teams in the tournament and we've shown that with some of our better performances, we can beat anybody on our day. That's the way we have to turn up against KKR," said the former Australia captain.

Dump it here: Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma during a training session at Wankhede Stadium yesterday ahead of today's IPL-8 match against Kolkata Night Riders. Pic/Atul Kamble
Dump it here: Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma during a training session at Wankhede Stadium yesterday ahead of today's IPL-8 match against Kolkata Night Riders. Pic/Atul Kamble 

Although Mumbai Indians enjoy a 10-5 record against KKR in the IPL with Gautam Gambhir & Co have come out triumphant in the last three outings. "I am not a huge believer about things which have happened in the past.

I mentioned that to the guys in the first game of the tournament in Kolkata that we have a very good record against KKR in Kolkata. From game-to-game, things can change pretty quickly. The momentum some teams have got now is totally different from others. We forget what (has) happened in the past," Ponting signed off.

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