IPL 2021, MI vs RCB | Not the first game, winning the tournament is the most important thing: Rohit Sharma

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Rohit Sharma

AB de Villiers-inspired Royal Challengers Bangalore helped keep an Indian Premier League tradition alive with their nail-biting two-wicket win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai as defending champions, Mumbai Indians, for the ninth time in the history of the tournament, lost the season opener. But skipper Rohit Sharma remains unfazed as he has his sight fixed on the elusive trophy that Mumbai are aiming to grab for a record-extending sixth time. 

“That’s the most important thing I guess (to win tournaments). Not the first game,” he said in the post-match presentation. 

Since 2013, Mumbai Indians have not won their season opener. But in the same period, Mumbai are the only team to win five IPL trophies, two more than second-placed Chennai Super Kings. 

“I thought it was a great effort.. great fight till the end. I thought we were 20 runs short with the kind of start we got. We made some mistakes in the first game, bound to happen,” Rohit reckoned as he looked back at the match. 

Put to bat first in Chennai, where they have been unbeaten since 2012, Mumbai were restricted to 159 for nine, courtesy of a maiden and record five-wicket haul by all-rounder Harshal Patel. 

Mumbai Indians looked to bounce back through the middle overs but succumbed to the magical knock of De Villiers who smashed a 27-ball 48. 

“We wanted to get wickets when AB and Christian were batting, which is why we went with Bumrah and Boult, unfortunately it didn’t work. Definitely not an easy pitch to bat on. We need to identify the situations and get variations. AB was brilliant and got them home. In hindsight you can say it takes time to get intensity,” said Rohit. 

Mumbai will play their second game at the same venue, against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 13.

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