Their "fortress" was almost breached by a spirited Kings XI Punjab and relieved to have avoided the debacle by a narrow margin, Mumbai Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said his team would now focus on making its home ground a den where oppositions would be scared to play in the IPL.
"Home games are very important because you don't know what you are going to get outside. You have to win as many as possible when you play at home and we are trying to make full use of that," Sharma said after the four-run win over Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium last night.
"We want to make it our fortress. We want to make it our den and people should fear coming to Mumbai and playing," he added. Rohit played a captain's knock of unbeaten 79 off just 39 balls but the young Mumbai Indians skipper admitted that he was nervous when Punjab almost chased down their total of 174. "I wasn't worried but I was nervous because as a captain you would be obviously. But I just wanted to hold my nerves. I didn't want to make any mistakes on the field. But it worked out pretty well."
"I rotated the bowlers well, which was the key. At the end I am happy that we won," Sharma said. Sharma said the dew factor came into play in the second innings and the bowlers found it difficult with the wet ball. The dew comes a lot over here. It is not easy. Spinners find it difficult to grip the ball but our spinners bowled well. Dew makes a lot of difference but we still defended the total of 174. Whether you win by 4 runs or 50 runs, a win is a win," he said.
Kings XI Punjab came close to winning the match despite losing early wickets but captain David Hussey felt the Mumbai spinners took the match away from them.
"I have got great faith in our lower order. They have been saving the team most of the season. A little bit disappointing that not an in batsman was there like David Miller or myself," Sharma said. "But full credit goes to Mumbai Indians spinners. Their two spinners really changed the game," he said.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh picked up three wickets for just 14 runs in his four overs, while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha picked two for 22 off his three overs. Hussey had bowled the last over off which Sharma had scored 27 runs and the Australian said that probably cost them the match. "I wasn't going to bowl. Yeah it is one of those things. PC (Piyush Chawla) has bowled in the death overs in the last few years and has done particularly well. But tonight it wasn't coming out for him. So I took the wrong one and sadly went for 27, probably cost us the game," Hussey said.
Sharma felt it was a gamble they took in the last over. "That really was a gamble because they didn't have much option. They could have gone either with Piyush Chawla or David Hussey. David Hussey considering he can get those yorkers, he thought he is the best man. I don't know what was the idea," Sharma said.
Hussey praised pacers Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana for their effort with the ball but said they would have to shrug off the disappointment of this loss when they play their next match against two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings. "We played very well in the Kings XI team, sadly we are on the wrong side of the result tonight. I think we can take a lot of positives out of here tonight. Our bowling upfront was sensational to me," he said.
"Praveen Kumar, Awana were outstanding. It will be disappointing with the result, but we just have to dust ourselves off when we go to Chennai in a couple of day's time," Sharma added.
Mumbai seamer Dhawal Kulkarni conceded 44 runs in his four overs but the skipper defended him and said it was not easy to bowl with the dew. "Anybody can have one bad game. See how good he bowled in the last game. It is not easy to bowl with the dew. You have got to give some time to him. This was his second game and he still got two wickets. He came and bowled pretty alright I would say," he said.
Sharma also lavished praises on the big West Indian Kieron Pollard for his brilliant effort to catch the ball at the ropes to get rid off Shaun Marsh. "He (Pollard) has been magnificent for us. He has taken a couple of great catches this year. He always does it for us. He is brilliant on the field. "That is what we look for from each and everybody to contribute on the field. We want to be the best fielding team in this competition," Sharma said.
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