Mumbai Indians clinched the IPL 2019 title by defeating Chennai Super Kings in a tense final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad on Sunday (May 12).
While defending the modest total of 149, Lasith Malinga produced a remarkable last over including a perfect slower yorker to dismiss Shardul Thakur in the final delivery as MI restricted CSK to 148/7 in 20 overs. With this historic 1-run victory, Mumbai Indians also became the first team to lift the IPL trophy four times.
Addressing the media conference after the match, MI skipper Rohit Sharma said he was well aware of Shardul’s range of shots and thus he suggested Malinga to bowl a slower delivery.
"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," Rohit told reporters.
The MI captain was ready to face the wrath had the decision to use Malinga backfired. But he trusted the Sri Lanka pacer for his all his experience of dealing with such situations over the years.
"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," he said.
The situation was pretty similar to the IPL 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 heist.
"I clearly remember when we won here in 2017, it was Mitchell Johnson who bowled that last over and defended only 10 runs. So yes, sometimes you've got to go with only instincts, sometimes you've got to go a little backwards and think what these experienced players have done and what they bring to the table," Rohit remarked.
For the MI skipper, the most important thing even then was to value the experience.
"It was a thought when I went with Mitchell because he's been in that situation. He's an experienced bowler, a leading bowler. And even today, Malinga has been one of the finest T20 players that we've seen. We knew he could give us a chance of winning the game. "Nine runs off the last over, anything can happen but you've got to back experience, and that's what we did," he asserted.
By virtue of this win, Rohit also became the first player to win the IPL title five times, with one of them coming with the defunct Deccan Chargers in 2009.
"Oh, I forgot that (title with DC). Yeah it is five. It's so tough to take one out of the five. You see IPL is a very tough tournament to win. So I am not going to pick one, because all those victories, all those finals that we won. One with DC and four with MI, we've had exceptional seasons. I can't really pick one because every season has its own challenge. For me, all five, I will cherish and remember, and not pick one," he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)