Batting is CSK’s strength: Rohit

MI’s IPL 2012 top-scorer says they can’t afford bowling lapses

By Akshay Manwani
Bengaluru 23 May 2012
The leading run-getter for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2012, Rohit Sharma will be hoping to come good in the final few games and helping the franchise win their maiden IPL title. MI clash against Chennai Super Kings in the Eliminator to be played between the two sides at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on May 23.

In an exclusive chat with on the eve of the big clash, Rohit spoke about MI’s run in the tournament, CSK’s strengths and his own good form.

20 points from 10 games – there’s actually very little separating you from the Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders, but you’ve made it to the Eliminator.

We needed to win a couple more games [to be on the top]. It has been a very even competition so far. All four teams have played consistent cricket otherwise they would not have made it to the top four. I am not taking credit away from any of the four teams. We played better cricket and that is why we are here.

We started well; the first half [of the tournament] was very good, but suddenly we lost a couple of matches and there was pressure to win the next two games. It was a very evenly poised competition for us. Of course, if we were in the top two it would have given us an extra opportunity to be in the final. But at the end of the day you have to play good cricket to reach the final and lift the trophy. Last week has been really good for us in all three departments. We just have to take that confidence into tomorrow’s game. In the press conference, too, I said that we have got enough potential in the dressing room to be through to the final and if we manage [to take that to the field] tomorrow, it will be good for us.

If CSK’s all-rounders don’t do well the team does not fire. Is that a fair assessment?

I don’t think so. Every team has got their own strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know what has worked for them and what has not, but for us, we have done well in all three departments. We have done well to restrict teams, we have done well to score runs in the last overs and we have taken some brilliant catches. As far as CSK are concerned, their batting has clicked sometimes and their bowlers have done well. They have chased 208 [206] against RCB, which shows they have got depth in their batting. I feel batting is their main strength so we can’t make mistakes in our bowling. We have to put pressure on them by converting half chances.

We have seen MI try out several opening combinations in the batting department right through this competition. But given that you cruised to a 10-wicket win in the last game with Dwayne Smith opening the batting with Sachin Tendulkar, can we expect that you will now stick to this combination?

I cannot [confirm] who [the opening batsmen] are going to be for the next few games. Whatever is in the team’s interest and whatever the management feels is good for the team will happen. Whoever has got an opportunity to open has performed. It is a good problem to have. Let’s see what the management and captain decide tomorrow.

You have been the highest run-getter for MI this season. Is there any extra pressure on you in these last few games?

I have to maintain my form. It is very important for me and for the team as well. I have always taken pride in my performance whatever the team. There will be no difference in my approach tomorrow either. I will look to score runs and play with an aggressive mindset. I don’t want to forget that it’s a very cruel game and anything can happen. I just want to be focussed. I have always cherished batting in the middle order, even when I play for India. I just want to continue my form, which will help the team and me.

You also get an opportunity to defend your Champions League Twenty20 title having made it to the IPL Playoffs. Your thoughts?

It’s good news. It’s another opportunity to go out and play for Mumbai Indians. We are the defending champions so we will take pride in defending the title this year. It’s not an easy tournament as all the best teams from across the world come and play [it]. But as I said, we will take pride in defending our title.

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