Blown away by Virender Sehwag’s batting explosion, Mumbai Indians was left to introspect. Looking back, Ricky Ponting and his men did not have many reasons to ponder over.
Mainly, it was the run-flow from openers Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene that swept MI to a crushing nine-wicket defeat at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground.
“Look, I think we could have stopped Sehwag getting off to the kind of start he got off to. With Sehwag, what’s important is to tuck him up at the start.
“If we put pressure early, he generally has a tendency to play a big shot to release the pressure. But today, we gave him too many scoring options early on and let him get away.
“Before we knew it he was 30 and so was Mahela. When you give class players easy opportunities like that, you'll be punished and that’s what happened today.”
These observations of Ponting reflected the helplessness of the team that could only watch Sehwag taking the match away.
Ponting did not think 161 was a less-than-adequate total that MI posted. “Both Sachin and Rohit batted well and we felt that if we get around 160-165, it would be a pretty good score on this wicket.
“They did say that it was an even surface, probably, it was slightly on the slower side. So we were quite happy at the break, but when Virender (Sehwag) and Mahela (Jayawardene) challenged us with the bat, our execution just went out of the window.
“All the line and lengths that we spoke about, we weren’t able to execute. Once they got 60 off six overs, we needed to take wickets after that. We tried different bowlers and different tactics but we weren’t able to get the breakthroughs and that proved costly.”
Sehwag was pleased with the outcome and his return to form. “When I’m batting well, I try to control the match. All along, we were focussed on training well.”
Asked about the impact of the presence of Viv Richards, Sehwag said, “Yesterday, he mentioned about bluffing during trying times. That means, to fake confidence even when you lack self-belief…”
Jayawardene acknowledged enjoying Sehwag’s knock from 22 yards during their 151-run stand and said, “Viru takes a lot of pride in his game. He wanted to play well for the franchise and the fans.”
Asked about his decision to open with Sehwag, Jayawardene said, “We had decided about opening yesterday only. We were losing too many wickets at the top. I am glad the move worked and we hope to carry on doing the same.”