Should opposing teams fear coming to Mumbai?
Their 'fortress' almost breached by a spirited Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said his team will now focus on making its home ground a den where opposing IPL teams will be scared to play.
"Home games are very important. You have to win as many as possible when you play at home, and we are trying to make full use of that," said Sharma, after the four-run victory over Punjab at the Wankhede stadium on Monday night.
Image: Rohit Sharma
'We want to make it our fortress'
"We want to make it our fortress. We want to make it our den and people should fear coming to Mumbai and playing," he added.
Rohit played a captain's knock -- an unbeaten 79 off just 39 balls -- but the young Mumbai Indians skipper admitted he was nervous when Punjab almost chased down their total of 174.
"I wasn't worried, but I was nervous, because as a captain you would be, obviously! But I just wanted to hold my nerves. I didn't want to make any mistakes on the field. It worked out pretty well.
"I rotated the bowlers well, which was the key. At the end, I am happy that we won," Sharma said.
Image: Rohit Sharma
'Whether you win by 4 runs or 50 runs, a win is a win'
Sharma said the dew factor came into play in the second innings and the bowlers found it difficult with the wet ball.
"The dew comes a lot over here. It is not easy. Spinners find it difficult to grip the ball, but our spinners bowled well. Whether you win by four runs or 50 runs, a win is a win," he said.
Kings XI Punjab came close to winning the match despite losing early wickets. Thier captain, David Hussey, felt Mumbai's spinners took the match away from them.
Image: Mumbai Indians
'Full credit goes to Mumbai Indians spinners'
"But full credit goes to the Mumbai Indians spinners. Their two spinners really changed the game," Hussey said.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh picked three wickets for just 14 runs in his four overs, while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha claimed two for 22 off his three overs.
Hussey bowled the last over, off which Sharma scored 27 runs. The Australian said that probably cost them the match.
"I wasn't going to bowl. Yeah, it is one of those things. PC (Piyush Chawla) has bowled in the death overs in the last few years and has done particularly well. But tonight it wasn't coming out for him. So I took the wrong one and sadly went for 27, probably cost us the game," Hussey said.
Sharma felt it was a gamble they took in the last over.
"That really was a gamble because they didn't have much option. They could have gone either with Piyush Chawla or David Hussey. David Hussey, considering he can get those yorkers, he thought he is the best man. I don't know what the idea was," Sharma said.
Image: Rohit Sharma with Harbhajan Singh
'Sadly we are on the wrong side of the result'
Hussey praised pacers Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana for their effort with the ball but said they will have to shrug off the disappointment of the defeat when they play their next match against two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings.
"We played very well in the Kings XI team, sadly we are on the wrong side of the result tonight. I think we can take a lot of positives out of here tonight. Our bowling upfront was sensational to me," he said.
"Praveen Kumar, Awana were outstanding. It will be disappointing with the result, but we just have to dust ourselves off when we go to Chennai in a couple of day's time," Sharma added.
Image: David Hussey
'Pollard has been magnificent for us'
Mumbai seamer Dhawal Kulkarni conceded 44 runs in his four overs, but the skipper defended him, saying it was not easy to bowl with the dew.
"Anybody can have one bad game. See how good he bowled in the last game. It is not easy to bowl with the dew. You have got to give some time to him. This was his second game and he still got two wickets. He came and bowled pretty alright I would say," he said.
Sharma also lavished praise on big West Indian Kieron Pollard for his brilliant catch at the ropes to get rid off Shaun Marsh.
"He (Pollard) has been magnificent for us. He has taken a couple of great catches this year. He always does it for us.
He is brilliant on the field.
"That is what we look for from each and everybody to contribute on the field. We want to be the best fielding team in this competition," Sharma said.
Image: Kieron Pollard