Rohit Sharma heaped praise on opener Quinton de Kock after his unbeaten 78 off 44 deliveries powered Mumbai to an eight-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Rohit and de Kock added 94 for the first wicket to make light work of Kolkata’s 149 target.
“I enjoy batting with Quinton. He is straightforward. Most of the times I take the back seat,” Sharma said after the match. “I have a role to play in the squad. I need to let Quinny (de Kock) bat freely and not worry about what the team needs from him.”
It was Mumbai’s 21st IPL win over Kolkata, and the eventual winning margin pleased Rohit, who looks set to lead his team into the playoffs yet again. “It is special to win as comprehensively as this when chasing. It gives us confidence,” he said. “I guess now teams batting second will win most of the games. That’s what I feel. The trend is changing. It is always a challenge when you have won four in four. How you turn up is what matters. We turned up really well, and right from ball one we were in their faces.”
Despite having KKR reeling at four for 42, Mumbai was wary of the threat posed by Kolkata all-rounder Andre Russell. The West Indies international showed glimpses of his power-hitting in the ninth over when he clobbered a Krunal Pandya delivery over cow corner for six. Rohit explained the rationale behind bowling Chahar and Krunal to Russell before turning to Jasptit Bumrah, who ultimately got Russell out. “I am a big fan of match-ups, read them well, and decide whom to exploit when. Having said that, you have to read the pitch and be instinctive too. I still bowled Rahul and Krunal to Russell because the pitch was holding up a little bit. Then I brought on Bumrah,” Rohit said.
KKR skipper Eoin Morgan regretted the lack of fight shown by his batsmen. “We weren’t even at the races today. We got a score to bowl at in the end, but the way Mumbai got off, it is tough to stop them,” he said. “We are trying to play our best hand there. Today it didn’t make that much of a difference; we were all in early.”