Abu Dhabi: Hardik Pandya came up with the goods with the bat as he smashed an unbeaten 40* off 30 balls to steer Mumbai Indians over the line against Punjab Kings on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi. Rohit reckoned it was important for Hardik to spend time in the middle as he is coming off an injury. Calling it a ‘tough’ call, he also spoke of it being difficult to drop young Ishan Kishan.

“The way he (Hardik) understood the situation was very crucial from a team’s perspective, it’s important for him to spend the time in the middle as he’s coming back from a injury. It’s a tough call (on dropping Ishan Kishan) and he seems very confident and the reply you get from him was very boosting as well. We are gonna back him (Ishan Kishan) as he’s a very important player for us.” he said at the post-match presentation.

Admitting that MI did not play to their potential, Rohit said it is a long tournament and the side needs to stick to their plans.

“We do agree that we didn’t play to our potential, but it’s a long tournament and we need to stick to our plans and reading the situations is very important and we can take a lot of confidence from that. Important not to lose the guard,” he added.

With the win, MI climb to the fifth spot and they are behind KKR, while Punjab remains at the sixth spot. Unfortunately, Rajasthan slips to the seventh spot even without playing.

Mumbai takes on Delhi in their next game which would once again be a must-win match for them.