Mumbai Indians' (MI) head coach Mahela Jayawardena was of course over the moon after his team successfully broke the odd-even conundrum in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and he also admitted the same following the franchise’s record fifth title triumph on Tuesday, November 10.
MI is already the most successful franchise in the IPL and on Tuesday, it has not only extended its record in the league but also broke the odd-even jinx by defending its title after thrashing Delhi Capitals by 5 wickets in a thrilling IPL 2020 final in Dubai.
After winning their maiden IPL title in 2013, MI went on to win their next three titles every alternate year – 2015, 2017, and 2019 – all ‘odd’ years, but now made it to win the title on the consecutive year and become the only second team to do so after Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Following Tuesday’s title victory, Jayawardena admitted the pressure of being defending champions hurt him and the team too when the team could not replicate the success the year after their title wins over the years and revealed how he made it possible to defend the trophy in the UAE.
Jayawardena said after the final clash, “I wish I could explain myself. I don’t think it was easy. You have the tag of being champions and Mumbai not winning the even years - so I had to bring the boys together. What we’ve done is try and be consistent with the processes and preparation, trying to get the guys used to that. Not try to do anything more or less. Obviously, this year has been a little different. But the guys enjoyed that setup.”
Meanwhile, MI has a number of dangerous six-hitters in their line-up likes Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya and the head coach feels the six-hitting has been in Mumbai’s DNA.
He added, “I think the six-hitting has been in Mumbai’s DNA for a while. What we try is to play to a tempo, the touch play. Credit to the franchisee who allow us to do this, make a bit of history. It’s all about helping them prepare and make sure they understand the roles they play, making things easy for them.”
Mahela signed off by saying, “We’ve got a leadership group out there, so we try and give them a bit of work to do. The boys have heard my other side [the one that’s no soft-spoken], once in a while. They showed what they can do out there.”
(With Hindustan Times Inputs)