Hyderabad: Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma was well aware of Shardul Thakur’s range of shots as he wanted Lasith Malinga to bowl a slower delivery which turned out to be a masterstroke at the end of a thrilling IPL final.
Rohit had kept the on-side open to lure Shardul and then Malinga’s slow in-dipper tailed into find Shardul plumb in-front as MI beat CSK by one run in a pulsating final.
Having played a first-class cricket for Mumbai with Shardul, Rohit knew how to bring about the youngster’s downfall.
“The idea was to get the batsman out. So I know Shardul really well. I kind of understand where he wants to hit, so we decided together (Malinga and him) that we’ll go for that slower option, because knowing Shardul, he would try to play a big shot and there might be a chance that he might just sky it. Again, it could have gone either way,” an elated Rohit said after the match.
Rohit was ready to carry the cross had the decision to use Malinga backfired but had a gut feeling that the Sri Lankan will be able to pull it off like Mitchell Johnson did in the 2017 IPL final.
Malinga repaid the faith his skipper showed in him defending nine runs off the final over.
“When the decision comes off, it looks all nice. It can backfire also. At that stage, I wanted to go with experience, with somebody who has been in such situation before. And Malinga has been in that situation a million times. So we backed him to do that,” the four-time IPL champion skipper said at the post-match media interaction.
The situation was eerily similar to Rohit he had faced in the 2017 final when MI beat the now defunct Rising Pune Supergiants by one run in another thrilling finish.
Then it was former Australian pacer Johnson, who defended 11 runs in the final over to pull-off a one-run victory.
It was that deja vu moment for the MI skipper.