Suryakumar Yadav and young Tilak Varma gave the best birthday present to their skipper Rohit Sharma as MI finally opened their account on Saturday.
Chasing a victory target of 159, MI reached home in 19.2 overs, courtesy of Surya (51 off 39 balls) and Tilak (35 off 30 balls), with the two adding 81 runs for the third wicket.
“I think if dew hadn’t played a part, that score would’ve been enough; but there was heavy dew, so felt it was 10-15 runs short,” said Ashwin at the post-match press conference.
“158 was a competitive score. It was always going to be about how well we started. In fact, we had a very good powerplay and got one wicket more than what Mumbai had at the front.
“So I thought it was a reasonably good score to fight and we pretty much did well with whatever scores we had this season. I thought the wicket was a little sticky to begin with.”
It was MI’s first win after eight successive defeats and even though the result bears little consequence, it is certainly going to keep the five-time champions in a good mind space.
Meanwhile, RR’s winning run came to an end.
“It was unfortunate today. I don’t know how this works, whether it’s the humidity factor, or the spray, whether it works or not or what it was; but it (dew) was wet all over the place today (Saturday),” said Ashwin.
“And it makes a massive difference. Good deliveries tend to get overpitched and stuff like that for the spinner. Also usage of the spinner cannot be at the back of the innings. So all these facets can’t be kicking in when dew comes in, so it’s a combination. We put up a decent score. Could’ve had 10-15 more, but these things happen in a 14-game IPL.”
In defence of a below par total, RR kept Mumbai quiet in the powerplay while also getting two wickets, but part-timer Daryl Mitchell conceded 20 runs in the seventh over.
Asked about the turning point in the match, Ashwin said: “Last game too Daryl Mitchell had bowled that 7th over. It is our strategy of that sixth bowler and he had bowled well the previous time.
“But today it didn’t work, but it happens in the game. If we use a sixth bowler upfront, then we have options in the back end. That’s the thought process. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s how T20 cricket is.”
Promoting Suryakumar to No.3 worked in MI’s favour as he ended up with a Played-of-the-Match performance.
“I’ve never celebrated personal milestones, but if they help the team, then I will be very happy,” said Suryakumar.
“The win will spread a lot of positivity. We already were actually enjoying each other’s company during practice session, team dinners and all. This win will spread even more positivity and will help each and everyone learn going forward this season.”