Long before the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season got underway in the United Arab Emirates on September 19, the Mumbai Indians franchise had made winning a habit. Hence, the pressure was always going to be on the defending champion to play to its potential.
With Rohit Sharma at the helm, the team ensured there were no slip-ups, and the Mumbai cricketers kept their cool and turned things around even in the trickiest of situations. That paid off as the side clinched a record fifth title, beating Delhi Capitals in a rather one-sided final in Dubai.
And the captain was happy with the way his team performed throughout the season. “We said at the start that we want to make winning a habit, and the guys were excellent through the tournament and we couldn’t have asked anything more from each one of them. We were right on the money from ball one when we started till today. We never looked back,” Sharma said.
Sharma’s success as Mumbai Indians captain has been incredible. Under his leadership, the team won the titles in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. After clinching yet another IPL title, the Mumbai captain thanked all the people involved in the process.
“A lot of credit goes to people behind the scenes as well; they often don’t get noticed. Our work starts much, much earlier than the IPL starts. We try to analyse what went wrong the previous season, what we need to fill, which players can add value to the squad, things like that,” he said.
Ishan Kishan (516 runs) and Suryakumar Yadav (480) were the leading run-scorers for the franchise this season, and Sharma showered them with praise for being “absolutely brilliant.”
“We make sure that we get the freedom because Ishan Kishan is somebody whose judgement you can’t cloud about what he wants to do on the field. You just want to let him loose. Surya has matured as a player over the years. You’ve seen some shots he’s played through the tournament — unbelievable shots. He looked in good form and he continued,” Sharma said.
In the final, Yadav sacrificed his wicket to keep his captain at the crease following a mix-up. “Unfortunately, he got run-out... The kind of form he was in, I should have sacrificed my wicket, but he did it. I give him a lot of credit; it’s not easy to do that. Through the season, it was a pleasure to watch him bat. Some of the shots he played the entire season — I don’t think anyone could play those shots. These two guys, you have to keep motivating them, give them confidence, and they come out with performances like that,” the Mumbai captain said.
It was a challenge to stay inside the bio-bubble for nearly three months. But with discipline and determination, the Mumbai Indians players were able to shrug off the odds and chase their dreams!
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