Mumbai Indians mentor Sachin Tendulkar revealed that his team was able to get the much-needed confidence and go on to win a historic third Indian Premier League title on Sunday after head coach Mahela Jayawardene got the team together and delivered a morale-boosting pep talk in the mid-innings break of final against Rising Pune Supergiant.
Rohit Sharma's men defended 129 successfully as Supergiant fell agonisingly short of the target by one run despite having six wickets at the end of the 20-over quota. Pacers Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell Johnson stepped up and made life difficult for Steve Smith's team with an array of toe-crushers. Notably, the former Australian fast bowler, who was given the responsibility of bowling the final over on the big night, defended four off the last ball to help them win the thriller in Hyderabad yesterday.
"At the break time, we got together and discussed few things. Mahela gave us a nice speech, which was needed. I can't repeat it here. We needed to think right and when you do that, performance follows. We believed we could pull it off and that's what Rohit and the team members did," an elated Tendulkar said, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
After opting to bat first against RPS, against whom they had lost three times in the season before the big night, Mumbai could manage only 129 in their 20-over quota as Jaydev Unadkat and Washington Sundar bowled economical spells in the powerplay, after which the then two-time champions struggled to get going. However, a handy 38-ball 47 from Krunal Pandya helped them post a competitive total on a sluggish track in Hyderabad.
Despite not striking often, the pace trio of Mumbai made sure they kept Supergiant batsmen quiet to build pressure. Bumrah and Johnson shared five wickets between them and the former removed MS Dhoni cheaply in the 17th over, which proved to be the turning point in the match.
The former India batsman had a special word of praise for Malinga, who had an ordinary season until the final night. Notably, the Twenty20 legend, who had conceded at 8.52 without much success, stepped up and gave away only 13 runs in his last two overs to choke the Supergiant batsmen.
"I always believe in the motto: once a champion, always a champion. Malinga is known for yorkers. He has delivered for us for 10 years. I was sure he would deliver tonight. H e has not had the kind of season we are used to, but we knew he is one guy who could change the game," Tendulkar added.