Pandya, Johnson guide Mumbai to third title

Veteran paceman Mitchell Johnson, who took key wickets in Mumbai Indians' IPL final triumph over Rising Pune Supergiant, has been hailed as an influential force off the field too by captain Rohit Sharma.

Mumbai Indians won their third Indian Premier League title as they beat Rising Pune Supergiant by one run in an epic last-ball thriller.

"I also feel individuals can win you a few games, but what is required to win a championship is team unity, team work and intelligence. It was very ebb and flow on what was quite a tough wicket to score on", he said in the post-match press conference. Rohit said, "All three (2013, 2015 and 2017) are special for me". Pandya brothers have had a good tournament but on the day when it mattered most, Hardik played across the line to Dan Christian to be adjudged leg-before.

With Pune needing just 11 runs in the final over, it looked like they would get the job done with Mitchell Johnson conceding a four in his first ball.

The Rolling Stones frontman is an avid cricket fan who once bought the rights to use audio from the Sharjah Trophy cricket tournament just so that he could get coverage over the Internet.

The Australian speedster was picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL Auctions earlier this year and proved to be an excellent selection for the Gautam Gambhir-led side. He has been in that atmosphere before for us.

At 56 for 5, Mumbai Indians didn't have any chance of recovery.

Mumbai were 8-2 when Rohit Sharma (24) arrived at the crease, but the India batsman injected some much-needed impetus by taking 16 off an over from Lockie Ferguson before Smith ran Ambati Rayudu (12) out with a superb direct hit.

"We wanted to score somewhere between 140 and 160 on this track because if we batted out coming in with 180 in mind, we might have bowled out for just 100". In the first half, RPS bowlers, propelled by Jaydev Unadkat (2/19), provided the ideal platform by restricting the bigwigs to a below-par score of 129/8. That's something me and Johnson discussed. He [Johnson] was bowling against the wind. "That will make it hard for him". Our target was between 140 and 160.

Terming Lasith Malinga and Jasprith Bumrah as best death bowlers, Rohit said he always prefered a five-bowler attack.

On experience in bowling unit: I think cricket is all about experience and inexperience.

Save Krunal Pandya (47 off 38 balls), who watched helplessly from the other end, none of the MI batsmen showed judiciousness expected on the grand stage.

  • Salvatore Jensen