Throughout the season, Mumbai Indians’ skipper, Rohit Sharma, has marshaled his troops like a veteran. In just his first full-time leadership role at the top level, the 26-year-old managed the array of world-class bowlers at his disposal with aplomb. This was especially evident when he brought in Pragyan Ojha in the middle overs to decisively tilt the IPL 2013 Final in MI’s favour. (Also Read: CSK vs MI - Final Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
The left-arm spinner repaid his skipper’s faith with the wicket of Albie Morkel, thereby neutralising the potential threat of the South African all-rounder mounting a comeback with the hard-hitting MS Dhoni.
“I think it was a very crucial wicket as these two guys (Morkel and Dhoni) would have made a lot of difference and getting them out at a crunch time was extremely vital,” Ojha said. (Also See: IPL 2013 Winner Mumbai Indians Celebrations - Pics)
The spinner credited his captain for such well-timed bowling changes and tactics, which saw MI win their maiden IPL title. “I think Rohit is very calm. He knows what to do and he does not react much. So, he is very good while managing things on the field. And most importantly, he is a bowlers’ captain,” said Ojha while lauding Sharma’s calculated approach.
However, Ojha also played a crucial role with the bat in the final when he somehow managed to hand Kieron Pollard the strike with two balls left in the MI innings. Just when it seemed like Dwayne Bravo was destined to bowl a magical last over, Pollard struck him for two massive sixes that took MI’s total to a challenging 148.
“When I came to bat, I just kept thinking that I have to give Pollard a single because in two balls you never know what happens. And then after I took the single, he got those 12 runs and it made a big difference,” Ojha said.
Meanwhile, he also lauded the entire MI set-up for gelling well throughout IPL 2013. “It was an outstanding season. We played like a team. Everyone was backing each other; everyone trusted one another’s abilities. And this season was special right from the start.
“And in a big game like this when two of the best sides are playing and you want to be the better team, you have got to play as a unit and back each other. That is because this game is played with 11 players,” he said.
Ojha was also thrilled to win his second IPL title – his first one came back in 2009 with the Deccan Chargers. “I am lucky enough to be part of a winning side twice. The feeling is just awesome. And to do it in front of the Eden Gardens crowd, nothing can be better than that,” Ojha said.