'It was a massive boost that MSD wasn't around; His presence does a lot for their team.'
Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s absence from Friday’s Indian Premier League match came as a "massive boost" for Mumbai Indians, said Rohit Sharma, after the visitors scored an easy 46-run victory in Chennai.
Sans Dhoni, who did not turn up as he was down with fever, Chennai failed miserably in their chase of the 156-run target set by Mumbai, bundled out for 109, their lowest total at home.
"It was a massive boost that MSD (Dhoni) wasn't around, because his presence does a lot for their team. When you don't have Dhoni when they're chasing the score, then it becomes difficult for them," Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"I'm sure his presence was missed by CSK. But he was sick; it's not in his control either," added the right-handed batsman, who struck 67, his first fifty of the season.
Rohit said it was a blessing in disguise for him to lose the toss as they too would wanted to chase on what eventually turned out to be another slow Chepauk surface.
"I thought it was better to lose the toss since we wanted to chase as well. But we knew whether we bat first or bowl first, we'll still have to play good cricket. We spoke about that at the start of the game, but it was a great effort by the boys since it's not easy to come here and play."
Rohit was mighty relived to have scored his first half-century of the season on Friday.
"It was a satisfying innings. I was getting 30s and 40s but not getting half-centuries. At no point was I worried about my form because I was hitting the ball well. I knew the day will come, and I guess today was the day," he said.
CSK stand-in skipper Suresh Raina blamed the team's batting for the defeat.
"We didn't bat well. We kept losing wickets every 2-3 overs, so our batsmen need to take more responsibility. Our bowling has always been good this season. We thought 155 was chaseable, but we lost too many wickets in the powerplay and middle overs.
"We didn't rotate the strike well either. It is important to go out there and see a few balls out, and then decide which bowler you want to go after. We need to sit as a batting unit and see where we're doing wrong. We have power hitters, we have experienced batsmen, we just need to relax as a batting unit."