Mumbai: Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene said he has seen enough T20 cricket not to be surprised by the manner in which his side pulled off a sensational four-wicket victory in an IPL game against Kolkata Knight Riders here.
“It’s a funny game. I have seen enough T20 cricket, it happens. A bit of pressure and a few good shots created this opportunity for us,” Jayawardene said.
MI snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, overhauling KKR’s challenging score of 178 with one ball to spare at the Wankhede Stadium last night.
“You always need to have that belief, happy that players had that belief. It was brilliant,” said the stylish former Sri Lanka batsman and captain.
He also praised the display of the side’s two young Indian players — Nitish Rana of Delhi and Hardik Pandya of Baroda — who pulled off the memorable win.
“I am pretty pleased and I am glad two young players carried us through. Nitish anchored the innings and took the game deep and Hardik came in and finished the job,” said Jayawardene.
Rana made 50 in 29 balls to put MI well in sight of victory before departing in the penultimate over. Pandya finished the job with a four to long leg off the fifth ball of the last over to remain unbeaten on a 11-ball 29.
“It was important to get points on board. Boys played well. After losing the first game, to come back that way showed character and quality. Even in the last game we did not give up and took it deep. I am happy, it was brilliant,” said Jayawardene, referring to his side’s opening game loss to Rising Pune Supergiant on April 6.
“We are flexible in batting order to have left-right combination. We back them even if they fail. Little things, we are trying to do right. Nitish is a very talented player and showed a lot of quality today, hopefully we can see more of that from him,” he added.
“We can’t keep playing in same pattern. (Team captain) Rohit (Sharma) is coming back from injury. You might be surprised if in some of the games he comes in and opens,” he said about Rohit batting at number four.
Jayawardene said it’s not an easy tournament and his side need to have that surprise element going forward.
“Good to have more options in bowling. Hardik did not bowl at all today. It’s a hyena hunt if we can hunt as a group, I think we will have a lot of success,” he said about the team’s bowling options.
Jayawardene steered clear of questions about umpiring standards after two of his batsmen were given out in what appeared to be dubious decisions on viewing TV replays.
“It’s difficult for umpires as well. It’s a high profile tournament and a lot of focus on everyone. It’s natural (to commit mistakes),” he said about the leg before decisions that went against Rohit and Jos Buttler.
Buttler was out to a full toss from Ankit Rajpoot which appeared to be going down the leg while Rohit clearly edged the ball on to his pads and was shockingly given out.
Rohit remonstrated with the umpire and has been reprimanded by the match referee for the Level 1 offence, under the IPL’s Code of Conduct.