Gambhir helps Rana clear his mind

Nitish Rana admitted that he had a one-on-one chat with some of the greats of the game, including Mumbai Indians icon Sachin Tendulkar, head coach Mahela Jayawardene, captain Rohit Sharma and Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir.

On Wednesday night at the Wankhede Stadium, Rana anchored the Mumbai Indians chase against defending champion Sunrisers Hyderabad against an attack that is perhaps the best of the Indian Premier League's tenth edition.   -  AP

If you thought Sunday night was a fluke, Nitish Rana demonstrated on Wednesday night that he had it in him to resolve Mumbai Indians' woes of domestic batsmen. More importantly, the twin innings have buried the ghosts of an otherwise mediocre season.

On Wednesday night at the Wankhede Stadium, Rana anchored the Mumbai Indians chase against defending champion Sunrisers Hyderabad against an attack that is perhaps the best of the Indian Premier League's tenth edition. Rana rode on the confidence he had built from the 29-ball 50 against Kolkata Knight Riders over the weekend to ensure Mumbai Indians crossed the line without any hiccup.

When Rana joined the MI set-up a week prior to the start of the IPL, he wasn't in the best frame of mind. After all, on the back of a patchy performance with the willow, he had lost his place in Delhi's Ranji Trophy squad and even faced the ignominy of having been sent back home midway through the domestic one-day tournament.

So what exactly had changed for him in the IPL? “It's the team environment,” pat came the reply from the 23-year-old. “I was very disturbed mentally, (because) I had put myself under pressure by thinking too much. I was not able to play my natural game; I was not able to enjoy the game. After getting out couple of times I had gone into a shell. After coming here, my mind became clearer. My practice game was good and I did fine in the practice match and gradually it all came back.”

Rana admitted that he had a one-on-one chat with some of the greats of the game, including Mumbai Indians icon Sachin Tendulkar, head coach Mahela Jayawardene, captain Rohit Sharma and Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir. Asked if he would point out a specific instance that helped him regain his mojo, Rana admitted it was a chat with his Delhi captain that turned the tide for him.

“After my last Ranji match, just before I was dropped, I spoke to (Gautam) Gambhir. He cleared a lot of things for me, mentally. He has seen me for more than 10 years being from the same club. And it helped a great deal,” Rana said. “Then I checked with Mahela Jayawardene Sir and Sachin Tendulkar Sir and they told me the same thing. Slowly, I adopted those points in my game and luckily it has worked for me.”

Despite starring in successive successful run-chases for Mumbai Indians, Rana was disheartened “not to have remained all out” in both the games. If he can rectify the mistake in Bengaluru on Friday, Royal Challengers Bangalore will find it difficult to overhaul a confident MI unit.