Rohit Sharma (above) himself dropped Chris Gayle off a skier but it did not prove costly © IANS
Rohit Sharma (above) himself dropped Chris Gayle off a skier but it did not prove costly © IANS

Mumbai: Mumbai Indians (MI) had an off day on the field with below par bowling and catching performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), said captain Rohit Sharma after his team was whipped by 39 runs in a crucial IPL cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium today.

“It was some very good batting by AB de Villiers but as a bowling unit what we had wanted to do did not happen. We did not take wickets and the fielding did not help with the dropped catches,” said Rohit.

“They depend on their top three batsmen. We dropped catches. It was not our day on the field though our fielding has been really good so far. We need to take catches, otherwise it will allow the opposition to get away,” he said.

RCB rode on a power-packed, unbeaten 133 by South Africa‘s World Cup skipper de Villiers, who smashed four sixes and 19 fours in his 59-ball innings, and his 215-run unconquered second wicket stand with visiting team skipper Virat Kohli (82 off 50 balls) to rattle up a tournament high score of 235 for 1.

Rohit himself dropped Chris Gayle off a skier but it did not prove costly as the West Indian swashbuckler was out in the next over but the chance given early on to Kohli by Harbhajan Singh in the same over from Mitchell McClenaghan proved very expensive.

Chasing the huge score, MI could make only 196 for 7 despite a valiant effort of 68 not out by Lendl Simmons and a quick-fire 49 by fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard and lost the match tamely.

Rohit said that till the end of the six-over power play, MI had things under control with RCB at 39 for one but after that their bowlers could not take any wickets even as 100 runs were added by de Villiers and Kohli between seventh and 15th overs.

“It was important at that stage to take a wicket. When it did not happen it was difficult to stop the runs against two set batsmen in the last five overs. But to their credit they batted well, especially de Villiers,” said the Mumbai skipper.

Rohit also defended the decision to call upon Hardik Pandya to bowl two overs at the death when someone like Pollard was around.

“Hardik had bowled well in our last two games, even against Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh] against Delhi Daredevils. Pollard has bowled 2-3 overs in the entire tournament,” he said.

Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah both conceded over 100 runs together.

Looking ahead, Rohit said his team has to bounce back and win the remaining two matches against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on May 14 and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Hyderabad on May 17 in order to qualify for the play-offs.

“We have to decide what to do against the Knight Riders in our next match,” he said.

RCB’s Harshal Patel, who bagged 2 for 36 that included the rival captain’s wicket, said that he was happy his plan to get Rohit clicked.

“I planned that dismissal and am happy I could get his wicket exactly as I had planned,” he said about having the MI captain caught at long on by Mandeep Singh.

He said though his side scored 235, the team was not complacent when defending the tall score. “In T20 cricket anything can happen. Our aim was not to make the mistakes they did,” he added.

While agreeing that Mitchell Starc was their main wrecker-in-chief with 15 wickets under his belt, he said there were others too who have delivered.

Asked about Australian pacer Starc having an off-day today when he went wicketless while conceding 35 runs in three overs. “He has been our main bowler over the last 7-8 games. But ours is not a one bowler unit,” said Patel.